A former Planned Parenthood employee is stepping forward with allegations that the abortion provider submitted fraudulent billing statements to state and federal governments in an attempt to extort taxpayer dollars.
P. Victor Gonzalez previously worked as chief financial officer for Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles and in a case now pending before a federal judge, he claims to have witnessed the overbilling of millions of dollars. In his testimony, Gonzalez alleges that after he reported the problems internally, he was fired.
According to Fox News, the state of California previously launched audits of various Planned Parenthood affiliates and discovered more than $5.2 million in overbilling at a single affiliate in San Diego. Gonzalez claims that lobbyists working for the abortion provider worked to prevent other audits from moving forward.
In his court filing, Gonzalez provides detailed accounts of what he says amounts to illegal activity:
In one year Gonzalez says PPLA paid $225,695.65 for Ortho Tri-Cyclen birth control pills, yet billed the government $918,084 - for a profit of $692,388.35.
But Planned Parenthood claims no wrong-doing:
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) says billing guidelines were unclear, and that nothing illegal or improper happened. According to PPAC, "The allegations in the lawsuit are false and were addressed by the State of California long ago." PPAC adds, "the California State Legislature passed a law in 2004 making it clear that the billing practices at issue in the case are completely permissible."
The law referenced by PPAC was sponsored by then-Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson, and allows Planned Parenthood to continue to bill at inflated rates. Jackson has said she was persuaded by Planned Parenthood that it could not survive absent the mark up for reimbursement, and she considered the issue one of "access."
Planned Parenthood has tried to have the Gonzalez case thrown out on a technicality, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently denied their motion. Though it may take years to finally get the case heard in court, Gonzalez and his attorney allege the problems are akin to "ACORN-like corruption" and federal agencies should consider de-funding the organization.
Recent estimates show that Planned Parenthood's national organization and its affiliates received $349.6 million in government funding for fiscal year 2008.
Meanwhile, another Planned Parenthood whistleblower is reportedly helping the IRS launch a criminal investigation into inappropriate ties between Planned Parenthood and its political arm.