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Letter To The Editor - Sewer Project


Robert Fiedler

A landowner on

Shipshewana Lake


To the Editor:

Last week had a couple pieces of very interesting news.

Locally, on May 3, the LaGrange County Regional Utility District mailed bills to Shipshewana West property owners. Nationally, on May 2, the Federal government announced the indictment of over 100 people for bilking $452 million from Medicare. At first glance there doesn’t seem to be anything in common between the two, but if you look a little further it comes together.

LCRUD billed Shipshewana West people a “wastewater charge” for the period April 1 through April 30 of this year. As is known by all of us with property in that area, there was no sewer service provided in our area during that time period. As of when this was written, not a single shovel has even been turned. So of course there was no wastewater to bill us for in April.

Why I brought up the Medicare announcement is that in each and every report or article (including the IN Attorney General’s website) I’ve seen on Medicare or Medicaid fraud, the first item listed as “fraud” is billing for services not rendered. Other than individual landowners being billed instead of the Federal Government, and the service being wastewater related instead of medical related, I don’t see what separates the two, in that the described service was not rendered and individual people or the Federal government were expected to pay for that non-rendered service.

Maybe one of the great legal minds in LaGrange County can clarify exactly where the point is when billing for services not rendered ceases to be fraud as defined by others far more knowledgeable in their field than I could ever hope to be, and instead becomes an accepted business policy.

One closing thought. Not only does the Federal government describe such a billing practice as fraud, but their prosecutors seem to follow up with felony indictments across the country when such a billing practice is employed against them.