R.A.I.N. Agrees To Reimburse $800K in Misused Medicaid Funds

Attorney General Schneiderman announced a settlement with nonprofit Regional Aid for Interim Needs, Inc., (RAIN), a home attendant service provider in the Bronx, for the misuse of Medicaid funds. The Attorney General’s investigation found that, from 2003 to 2008, RAIN’s former Executive Director Louis Vazquez improperly used nearly $800,000 in funds intended for the nonprofit’s home attendant service affiliate in order to pay off a mortgage on the agency’s vacant administrative headquarters.

The investigation also found that Vazquez inappropriately charged thousands of dollars in personal expenses to the nonprofit’s American Express card. Under the settlement, RAIN is required to repay the illegally diverted $800,000 back to the Medicaid program and recover the money paid toward Vazquez’s personal charges.

Vazquez remains under investigation for allegedly charging thousands of dollars in personal expenses — including dental and car-lease bills, on the organization’ corporate American Express cards.

“Nonprofits cannot be used as the personal piggy banks of their management,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “This organization wrongly diverted taxpayer dollars meant to help the elderly to pay off a mortgage on a vacant building. My office will ensure state funds that are directed to provide important services to New York’s most vulnerable are used as intended.”

As has been reported in The Bronx Chronicle and elsewhere there are too many abuses occurring at nursing homes, home attendant services and hospices in the Bronx, New York City and New York State. The Office of the Attorney General and other state agencies have vowed to carefully monitor the provision of services to and the treatment of vulnerable elderly clients.

Regional Aid for Interim Needs, Inc. (R.A.I.N.), was established in 1964 by its founder, Mrs. Beatrice Castiglia-Catullo as a agency enhancing the well-being and quality of life for New Yorkers with short-term needs and interim crises.  After fifty years, R.A.I.N. has grown into an extensive not-for profit multi-service organization network, serving residents of The Bronx and Upper Manhattan.

R.A.I.N. offers a a range of quality services for seniors and those with disabilities. The agency’s continuum of care services include: full-service neighborhood senior centers, home-delivered meals, transportation services, benefits and entitlements assistance, case management and elder abuse services.

Many concerned Bronxites and leaders believe that this negative episode can now be put behind it and that the new management at R.A.I.N. will resume providing proper levels of high quality services to its clients.

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