INDEPENDENCE, MO – More than 50 veterans thought they were being examined by a real, licensed doctor.
Instead, they unknowingly saw an imposter.
One man at the center of the federal investigation is charged with theft of government property for defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Many veterans came to the Industrial Medical Center off 40 Highway for disability exams. The company has since moved to a new location further down the highway.
The only licensed and trained doctor that could perform VA examinations left IMC in July of 2013. Federal investigators say the exams didn’t stop.
“It is just a shame,” said Lee Norman, the chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Hospital. “That just shouldn’t happen.”
Once the licensed doctor left the company, federal prosecutors say James Lindsey and another suspect performed the exams without the required license or training.
Norman says without a license, the assessments shouldn’t be valid.
“It’s clearly activity that erodes the trust that the public has for professionals who are licensed to do the work they do,” Norman said.
According to federal charges filed on October 24, the second suspect used the former licensed doctor’s username, password and medical license number to submit 209 examinations for 53 veterans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs paid the company more than $39,000 for the false exams.
A hotline call to the VA’s Office of Inspector General revealed the alleged fraud. Investigators say Lindsey suspected the disability exams might have been improper but turned a blind eye to keep the company’s VA contract.
The VA had to re-adjudicate the exams which forced some veterans to be reexamined.
“It is so unfortunate to have them go through this again,” Norman said. “There is nothing easy about that. even the logistics of getting in to be evaluated are a lot to ask.”
Federal investigators are asking the court to force Lindsey to forfeit money or property to pay back the more than $39,000 made from the exams.
KCTV5 asked the Industrial Medical Center for comment but have not heard back.
By Emily Rittman and Nick Sloan, KCTV