A pair of brothers allegedly bilked more than $200,000 from the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota by filing fraudulent claims.

Kong M. Vang, 31, of Circle Pines, Minn., and Dang Vang, 48, of Inola, Okla., were charged Monday in Ramsey County District Court for alleged fraud that occurred in 2009 and 2010.

Kong M. Vang is charged with six counts of medical assistance fraud and five counts of theft by false representation. He is accused of filing false claims to DHS and BCBS for personal care assistant services and supervising qualified professional services totaling $226,098.20.

Dang Vang is charged with two counts of medical assistance fraud and one count of theft by false representation. He is accused of defrauding a total of $82,648.86 from DHS and BCBS.

According to the complaint: The brothers started running their dad’s company, Highlander Home Health Care Services Corp., when their dad went missing in Southeast Asia about six years ago.

The brothers each owned 50 percent of the company, which provided personal care assistants to Medicaid recipients.

Dang Vang left the company in 2009 but allegedly continued to access the Highlander checking account, the charges said. He moved from Minnesota to Oklahoma that same year, but the company’s payroll checks were signed by his electronic signature.

Kong Vang manually signed other checks from the company’s account, the complaint said. He eventually began operating Highlander by himself, and allegedly submitted false claims, according to charges.

Last year, fraud investigators handled 104 cases involving personal care provider agencies and four cases involving home health care agencies; together, they accounted for about one-third of the agency’s total fraud investigations.

A 2009 report by Legislative Auditor James Nobles faulted state oversight of billing and payments in the fast-growing publicly funded portion of Minnesota’s personal care attendant industry after several cases of outlandish billing came to light. Nobles said heightened scrutiny was important because PCA outlays were growing rapidly with Minnesota’s aging population and efforts to keep frail elderly citizens in their homes, rather than in nursing facilities. DHS modified its computer system to detect red flags for billing fraud and asked the Legislature for authority to hire more investigators, increase on-site visits to small agencies and increase surety bond requirements for unlicensed care agencies.

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