A Human Services Department employee charged with Medicaid fraud was released from jail Friday, and a judge said he may continue working while he awaits trial.
Everton Garvey, 47, surrendered to Justice Department officials Thursday and was arrested, according to a press release from the office of V.I. Attorney General Denise George.
Special Agents arrested Garvey on a warrant charging him with several counts of Medicaid Program fraud, as well as conversion of government property, fraudulent claims upon the government, forgery and embezzlement or falsification of public accounts.
Unable to post $30,000 bail, he was jailed overnight and appeared in court via video conference Friday, dressed in a red Bureau of Corrections jumpsuit.
Garvey is accused of fraudulently underreporting income for applicants he knew were not eligible for benefits, and entering a false Social Security number for an undocumented recipient.
The affidavit supporting the warrant for his arrest has not yet been made public, and George made it clear that the investigation is ongoing.
The arrest is the result of an anonymous call received by the V.I. Justice Department’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in February 2020, which found that $54,000 in Medicaid funds were improperly appropriated by some employees of the Medicaid Program when they were unlawfully enrolled.
However, investigators were unable to recommend charges be brought against some employees as they were unable to obtain some subpoenaed files.
“The arrest of Everton Garvey does not conclude the investigation. The investigation continues and additional arrests are expected,” George said in a press release.
If convicted, Garvey is facing both a fine and time in prison.
In court Friday, Assistant V.I. Attorney General Brenda Scales told Magistrate Judge Henry Carr III that Garvey was born on St. Croix and has lived on St. Thomas for about 20 years.
He’s worked in the Medicaid and food assistance program for about seven years, and also works for Ranger Security as a guard, Scales said.
Scales did not oppose Garvey’s release, but asked the judge to order him not to have contact with witnesses in the case, surrender his travel documents and not access the Virgin Islands Benefits and Eligibility Enrollment System, or VIBES.
Garvey has no prior contact with the criminal justice system, Scales said.
Carr appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Garvey, and ordered him to file a financial affidavit that will determine whether he is eligible for free legal representation.
Carr agreed to the release conditions proposed by Scales, and reduced bail to $10,000, with a provision that allows Garvey to be released after posting 10% in cash. Garvey’s wife posted $1,000 cash to secure his release Friday, according to court records.
Garvey may leave his home to work at either his government or private security job, but whenever he is not working, “he must be subject to house arrest,” Carr said.