Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The "Crimes" of Nadya Suleman

Photo: Natalie Suleman on the way into the Kaiser Bellflower Hospital where her eight premature babies are gaining weight at taxpayer's expense. Photo from zimbio.com.

We’ve had plenty of time to digest the misdeeds of Nadya Suleman. I think I am correct in saying there are more people who are outraged by her actions than think what she did was the legally or morally right thing to do.

I am not an attorney or law enforcement person by any means. But I got to thinking, what exactly are the possible crimes that Nadya Suleman has committed?

1. Lied on a FAFSA form. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is required of any student who is requesting financial aid. Questions are asked regarding past tax returns and also if you have untaxed income, such as worker’s compensation benefits. There is also a section that asks about where you plan to live while attending college. The options are on campus, off campus, or with parents. Wanna bet Suleman checked “off campus” which allowed her to borrow as much money as she was able to? Remember, fees at a California State University run about $1600 per semester for 6.1 or more units. Do the math. Unless you have requested funds to assist in housing, there is no way a resident of the state of California should be borrowing $50K for a 124-unit bachelor’s degree from a CSU.

2. She has three kids on supplemental security income for varying degrees of disability. The truth is the social security system rewards persistence. She has also probably done an excellent job of doctor and clinician shopping and probably has some very compelling reports on just how badly disabled her kids are. What are in those reports, and were all three children examined by a physician retained by the government to honestly assess the degree of disability?

3. She has a “nanny” that she pays $500 a week. It’s my guess this nanny is actually a home health aide hired to help take care of the disabled kids. Who pays? Well duh, taxpayers. I believe that is a social security benefit. (Remember those three kids are also no doubt eligible for Medicare and Medi-Cal due to their disabilities. The remaining three older kids are also eligible for Medi-Cal because of a medically indigent mother. Getting kids on Medi-Cal is easy.)

4. She has a kid in a private school. This no doubt is also paid for by taxpayers under something called an “Individualized Education Plan” (IEP). This frequently happens with disabled children who cannot receive services in their neighborhood school. The money comes from the school district that the kid is supposed to be attending school, but with a good education attorney and a well-written IEP, it’s amazing what you can get a school district to pay for to avoid a discrimination lawsuit. The kid can have a physical, mental or emotional disability.

5. Filing/signing a false document: the babies’ birth certificates. Who is “David Solomon” and does he exist at all? That crime is punishable by three years in prison—a birth certificate is a legal document. We’ve all read the speculation about David Soloman being an Anglicized version of Doud and Suleman (Nadya Suleman was born Natalie Doud). Who is the sperm donor? Don’t those children have a right to know anything about their biological father?

6. She stayed on worker’s compensation temporary total disability (TTD) for entirely too long. Thus far, she didn’t break any laws but she may have broken procedure. When a person is on TTD, if the comp carrier asks the injured worker to show up for appointments for whatever reason, you had better show up.

Cleverly, Suleman managed to stay pregnant so she could never be assessed on just how bad or good her back really was. Any woman who has carried a baby can attest how badly your back hurts, and no doubt that pain is subjective in that you can’t do an x-ray or any clinical exam that tells you just how much that back should hurt. One criterion that will be used in determining the percentage of her disability will be how long she was disabled, even if it’s doubtful she’s been that disabled for some time. Remember, she was 22 years of age when she was reportedly hit with a chair by a mental hospital patient. A one-off blow like that (unless it caused a fracture) cannot disable a young person as badly as she claims. A hit to the back does not cause a herniated disc. Cumulative traumas (including pregnancy) can be enough of a cumulative trauma to herniated a disc. Even though people who do have herniated discs report doing one thing to push their back over the edge, there have been plenty of microtraumas to start messing up the back and disc spaces long before symptoms pop up. And remember, the size of the herniated disc does not necessarily equal the amount of pain a person has.

Thing is, we do not know exactly what her back injury was. My guess is she had a soft tissue injury and she did an excellent job of remaining “symptomatic.” In my job as a worker’s comp case manager, I had two such “back patients,” both of whom “fell” on the job as deli workers, and both of whom had utterly perfect x-rays/MRIs/CAT scans. One was surveilled and found to be faking; in the second case the employer chose to give the woman vocational rehab just to be rid of her.

Nadya Suleman managed to keep her job position open until last fall. That tells me a lot—that her injury (on paper) was not a career-ending injury but because she kept herself pregnant, her health (and a return to work date) could not be assessed or determined. Employers hate paying TTD, and will do nearly anything to avoid paying it. It’s possible that in her case she could not return to the mental hospital because she could not defend herself (which was my case), but it’s my guess she didn’t have enough education to be assigned to a desk job with minimal to no patient exposure.

Obviously most of what Suleman did is not criminal, but it sure looks like a gross manipulation of the system in place for truly down and out people who find themselves in dire straits through no fault of their own. Think of all of the people who were truly in need who were turned down due to lack of funds or because of their inability to manipulate the system as well as Suleman? At best she is guilty of lying on a FAFSA form, lying on the children's birth certificates, and some sort of manipulation of the worker's compensation system.

Another question I have: I read that Nadya’s parents, Angela and Ed, are divorced, but they do live together. That’s not a crime, but what exactly are the benefits? Is Nadya’s mother also receiving public assistance for whatever reason? Did the apple not fall far from the tree? Where did Nadya get the idea—and assistance—to carry out her insane quest for children to give her what she felt was missing in her life? I know I was raised better.

If you were a prosecutor, what would you like to add to the list? If you were a politician what new laws would you work to pass in response to this whole debacle?


Anonymous said...

Using in vitro fertilization to have 9 children is so extreme and unpleasant for the would be mother that it is self limiting as a behavior.

I don’t think as a society that we need to get our collective knickers in a twist over a stupid thing that one mother did once.

Since it is not likely to be repeated, the case does not justify new legislation.

There is also the issue of equal protection.

Several polygamist compounds reportedly encourage multiple wife households to have as many children as possible so the women (who are technically single) are eligible for a monthly welfare amount for each child—thereby supporting large homes.

Welfare mothers in general have littlie incentive to practice birth control for the same reasons.

So how can you prosecute this one mother?

And how do you limit a woman’s right to bear children?

A right only available to the rich?

Anonymous said...

Three of her younger children attend Whittier Christian Preschool it was written by a commenter whose children attend school with them.

All the kids had on Whittier Christian School t-shirts.



Please explain to me who is paying for this. Let's say Grandpa pitches in (as it was reported he does for a "special school for the autistic child), does that mean that the money he is WILLING to pay for private schools but he is unwilling to pay for food for $490 worth of food, etc etc. This is beyond screwy.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that if a woman deliberately becomes pregnant with more babies than a human being can be expected to carry to term, when there is no hope WHATSOEVER of doing so, she is willfully endangering the lives of her fetuses. WILLFULLY. There has to be SOME kind of criminal charge that fits the bill.

Knowing in advance, before she even became pregnant (by artificial means) that she had NO HOPE of EVER being able to pay the significant medical costs that are GUARANTEED to be incurred in such a risky endeavor should be considered fraud of some kind. She KNEW that all 7 babies she thought she was carrying would need long-term, specialized medical care and chose to place that burden on the taxpayers.

If it can be proved that she and her doctor cooked up some sort of scheme to carry these babies for the express purpose of exploiting the babies, there may be some sort of conspiracy charge that could be applied.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, I believe it was using in vitro fertilization to have 8 children, not 9 or 7.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think her acts are not criminal?

She is a habitual, premeditated Felon.

Premeditated fraud and theft of funds from welfare, universities and hospitals by deliberately having babies one can't afford is Felony Theft as much as any. She did this six times.

Falsifying birth certificates is also a Felony.

She should be locked up and charged. Her confessions are all on national TV.

Anonymous said...

Her "wonderful" church is an enabler.

As are her parents.

Criminal enablers.

And should be considered for criminal charges of aiding and abetting, or harboring a criminal.

Anonymous said...

There's possibly multiple counts of fraud committed against the agencies providing food stamps and other aid. The amounts are usually decreased if there's parental support, which she might have misrepresented. Also, if she's using available money to have surgeries and implantations, instead of supporting her children, that's fraud. Also, she shouldn't be classified as disabled if she's shooting out babies all those years. That's fraud.

Wonder if she will be fined or be made to repay money from the government. She's probably counting on getting some sort of exploitative publicity deal, but she's not counting on ever paying back all these misspent funds.

Anonymous said...

On February 19, 2009 12:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just for the record, I believe it was using in vitro fertilization to have 8 children, not 9 or 7.

The 8th baby was a surprise to everyone, so she THOUGHT she was carrying 7 babies. I'm not sure if she was implanted with 6 embryos and 2 of them split or if she was implanted with 7 and one of them split (I think she's been deliberately vague on that point and I may have missed a clarification), but at least 2 of the babies are twins.

Anonymous said...

It appears she committed fraud multiple times and should be charged with such.
She took government funds that were meant to go to children and paid for fertility treatments, cosmetic surgeries, and such. It also appears to be some sort of child neglect going on. She constantly lies, so it is difficult to believe her what she says to defend herself.

Anonymous said...

Getting those hideous fish-lips on taxpayer money should be against the law.

If it's not considered fraud, it should be considered a violation of aesthetic standards.