Founder of North Carolina AIDS Agency Charged With 10 Counts of Mishandling Federal Money, Mail and Social Security Fraud
The founder of a Johnston County, N.C., AIDS agency on Dec. 18 was indicted by a federal grand jury in Raleigh on 10 felony criminal charges that he misused federal money granted to the agency to provide services to HIV-positive clients, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. James Wise, who founded and ran Drugs and AIDS Prevention Among African Americans, is accused of misusing "undisclosed amounts" of federal grant funds, mail fraud and Social Security fraud. If he is convicted he could serve up to 60 years in prison and pay up to $2.5 million in fines. A state audit conducted in 1998 found that Wise "skimmed" money off Medicaid payments to DAPAA for himself and funneled money to his wife and a former employee. The report also said that the agency's board of directors and state health officials did not adequately monitor the situation. Upon reviewing the audit, the FBI "took interest in the case." Frank Perry, an FBI agent who heads the Raleigh office, said, "It's a serious indictment," adding, "We're still looking into it to see if anyone else was involved and who else had knowledge" of the activities. The DAPAA board reprimanded Wise after the 1998 audit was released and replaced him with a new executive director. Wise is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge William Webb in Raleigh on Jan. 17 (Clabby, Raleigh News & Observer, 12/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.