Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. acting chief financial officer Corazon Pablo Ada testified yesterday that she was shocked upon seeing in 2008 some false or fabricated documents prepared by her brother-in-law, Melvin Ada.
Corazon Ada said that based on the documents the Department of Finance provided at her request, CHC overpaid the vendor by $400,000.
Corazon Ada was among the U.S. government’s witnesses yesterday in the ongoing jury trial in federal court of Leyda I. Ada, who is accused of conspiring with her husband, Melvin, to perpetrate a health care fraud exceeding $1.7 million.
Leyda Ada is on trial for conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and perjury. Melvin Ada has already pleaded guilty.
Pauline Kapileo of Tax and Revenue is expected to continue her testimony when trial resumes today, Wednesday, at 9am in the U.S. District Court for the NMI. She testified yesterday for the U.S. government regarding the filing of tax returns by Melvin and Leyda Ada.
Clarice Mendoza, a former employee of First Hawaiian Bank, completed her testimony yesterday.
During cross-examination by defense counsel Mark Hanson, Mendoza reiterated her earlier testimony that she does not remember telling an FBI agent in an email that there’s a possibility that Leyda Ada was not present when she opened a business savings account with FHB on Oct. 1, 2004.
Shown by Hanson a copy of an email to the FBI agent, Mendoza confirmed that it was her email dated Dec. 3, 2013.
During questioning by assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe, Mendoza clarified that what she was referring to in her email was the blank signature card.
After Mendoza was excused, the prosecution called Corazon Ada, who testified, among other things, how she discovered the false documents that Melvin Ada had submitted to Finance.
Corazon Ada also explained CHC’s hemodialysis’ supplies’ contract with Midwest Medical Supply, or MMS.
Melvin Ada was employed as an account manager with Midwest Medical Supply until 2009. CHCC regularly purchased medical supplies and equipment from MMS.
Corazon Ada said Melvin Ada was already a purchaser at the accounting department when she joined CHCC in 2006.
She recalled that one afternoon in 2008, she received a call that CHC was put on credit hold. She said Melvin Ada came and gave her a bundle of invoices; she noticed that some were photocopied. Corazon Ada said she told Melvin Ada that she needs to reconcile because the documents showed that the vendor had already been paid.
She requested documents from Finance, which subsequently provided her with invoices about one and a half inches thick. She later learned that Melvin Ada took the documents from her desk and when she asked him about it, he stated that he accidentally took and threw them.
Corazon Ada said she confronted Melvin Ada how he could throw about two inches of documents without looking at it and it’s even intended for her.
“He was quiet. He remained silent,” she said.
Corazon Ada then requested Finance for a second time to provide her the documents. When she finally received the documents, she was shocked because she noticed that some were false.
Corazon Ada said she informed her boss at that time about the $400,000 overpayment to MMS. She said her boss then had to disclose the overpayment to Medicare. As a consequence, the acting CFO noted, Medicare disallowed $500,000 in reimbursement for the 2011 report.
Corazon Ada agreed with Hanson that Melvin Ada was basically involved in the transactions from beginning to the end or until the release of checks. Corazon Ada agreed with Hanson that Melvin Ada helped turn over documents to Finance and that he switched vouchers.
She said she submitted a report but left the disciplinary portion with their Human Resources. She said she does not recall whether Melvin Ada and two other CHC staff were suspended as a result of the investigation.
Corazon Ada said HR wanted due process for Melvin Ada but he never showed up and eventually stopped reporting to work.
The prosecution alleged that between 2004 and 2011, Melvin Ada deposited 53 CNMI Treasury checks made out to ‘’MMS—Medical Supply Co. CNMI” or “Midwest Medical Supply Co. Inc.” into Leyda’s FHB business savings account, approximately in the amount of $1.7 million.
After Corazon Ada’s testimony, the prosecution called Bank of Guam’s vice president and regional manager for the CNMI, Marcia Tomokane, then Bank Pacific branch manager Fred Camacho, and finally Pauline Kapileo of Tax and Revenue.
Tomokane and Camacho testified about the documents showing Melvin’s and Leyda Ada’s deposits and withdrawals at BOG and Bank Pacific.
The prosecution alleged that after Melvin Ada stopped reporting to work at CHC on July 5, 2011, he and Leyda Ada conducted a series of financial transactions to conceal the proceeds derived from health care fraud and embezzlement.
The prosecution alleged that between July 5, 2011 and Aug. 11, 2011, the Ada couple closed out six bank accounts at FHB, BOG, and Bank Pacific, but not before withdrawing and spending at least $75,000.