The general manager of a residence for the elderly in eastern Montreal is accused of having billed the health network for false services, in particular baths and toilets, for patients who were absent from his establishment. According to testimony collected by the police, no one at the CIUSSS checked whether the services were being rendered before paying.
The case stems from a year-long investigation by the Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit (UPAC). The police were first alerted in March 2022 by the Québec Ombudsman, who had obtained information about the residence Les Jardins de Jouvence de Montréal, a private establishment with about sixty places located in the borough of Mercier-Hochelaga. -Maisonneuve.
According to investigative documents filed at the Montreal courthouse, a witness discovered embezzlement in the residence’s accounts. The executive director, Paul Asselin, allegedly billed the CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’île-de-Montréal for baths, toilets and meal assistance for certain patients, when they received nothing these services and were no longer even present in the establishment.
The expenses billed are indeed part of the services to residents that can be reimbursed by the health network under an agreement with private seniors’ residences. The whistleblower who alerted the police, however, explained that the CIUSSS did almost no verification before paying the invoices sent by the residence, using public funds. The general manager therefore had no trouble getting paid for fictitious services.
“The fraud is estimated at more than $4,000,” UPAC said in a statement. The acts allegedly took place over a one-year period between 2021 and 2022, according to the indictment.
In one case, Mr. Asselin allegedly explained to a witness that he billed a resident who had left the residence for baths, to compensate for the fact that she was not paying enough when she lived there. “Since I couldn’t get a raise on his rent, I’m billing him for baths,” he allegedly told a witness, according to a sworn statement from a Detective Sergeant filed in court.
Paul Asselin is accused of fraud as well as production and use of false documents. He is due to appear in court on May 31.