The owner of Bethel’s Tundra Suites hotel has been charged with Medicaid fraud.
When Medicaid recipients fly to Bethel for medical appointments, they pay for their food, hotel rooms, and cab rides with vouchers in lieu of payment. Local companies then use those vouchers to bill Medicaid for reimbursements.
Tundra Suites’ owner, Chin S. Kim, 58, is accused of billing the government for Medicaid recipients who never actually stayed at his hotel. Alaska’s Office of Special Prosecutions has also charged Tundra Suites employee Mi Ae Young, 56, in the alleged scheme.
According to charging documents filed with the court last month, Tundra Suites’ Medicaid billing increased from an average of $4,000 a month to a high of $57,000 for December 2017. On several occasions, Kim and Young allegedly billed the government for more Medicaid recipients than there are rooms in their hotel.
Investigators claim that Mi Ae Young admitted to fraudulently billing Medicaid. According to the charging documents, Young says that she did it to help Kim when Tundra Suites started struggling financially. Kim allegedly didn’t know about the scheme for months.
Kim and Young are each charged with medical assistance fraud and scheme to defraud, both of which are felonies. They were arraigned in Bethel last week and their next hearings are scheduled for July 23.