UNT student behind undercover video of alleged health care fraud talks with News 8

Lawrence Jones is the man behind the camera in undercover footage taken at the Urban League of Greater Dallas.

DALLAS Lawrence Jones is the man behind the camera in undercover footage taken at the Urban League of Greater Dallas.

The Project Veritas video captured Affordable Care Act 'navigators' telling enrollees to lie. Two undercover videos were released by the group and Jones said there are more incriminating videos expected to be released in the future.

One of those was released Thursday afternoon. In it, health navigators in Houston, Luling and Fort Worth appear to be telling clients that they do not have to report any income that they did not report to the IRS.

'Stuff like that, to get a lower premium, I wouldn't include in it. If I was cutting grass on the weekends and they were just giving me money, you know, that's my money,' one navigator from Houston says.

A UNT student studying political science and criminal justice, Jones said he teamed up with Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe as part of his conservative activism.

'I suspected there was fraud going on, so through a mutual friend I was teamed up with Project Veritas,' he said.

He said he was paid for his time and did not feel like he was misleading the navigators.

'I feel like I asked them questions that the average american would ask them,' he said

Project Veritas is a conservative-based watchdog group. The organization got national attention for their hidden-camera video in which the group alleged they captured acts of voter fraud at ACORNoffices in 2009.

In the video recorded at an ACORN office in National City, Calif., Juan Carlos Vera gave advice on human smuggling to a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute. However, it was later revealed Vera contacted police two days after the incident after approaching his cousin, a police officer, for advice on the incident.

In a March settlement, O'Keefe and his partner in the videos, Hannah Giles, agreed to make a $100,000 payment to Vera. O'Keefe said in the settlement he 'regrets any pain suffered by Vera and his family.'

Jones said he is one among several working undercover for the group. He described the Urban League of Greater Dallas as 'unprofessional.'

'From the start of it, the lady told me, 'I haven't received all my training,'' he said of an employee at the Urban League's Irving office. '... You haven't received your training and you're trying to guide me on my health care?'

The Urban League identified the female employee as a part-time receptionist. Jones said it wasn't much longer before the navigator urged him to lie on enrollment documents.

'I didn't give her any 'gotcha questions,'' Jones said.

After Jones revealed to the navigator he is a smoker, the employee told him not to put that in the document as it would raise his premiums.

'If you listen to her, she said, 'I always lie,'' he said.

The employee was terminated.

News 8 reached out to those who are tasked with managing local navigators, and those who support Obamacare, to get their reaction on the video.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins didn't return calls or texts and wasn't available at his downtown office. He has advocated for the program since day one, even encouraging people to sign up face-to-face with nagivators as late as last week. He pitched the need for volunteers to a group of about 40 people who just heard President Barack Obama speak last week.

Martha Blaine, who helps oversee 12 full-time navigators in North Texas, wouldn't comment directly on the footage. But she did say she generally has every confidence in the staff, and that once the politics surrounding the health care rollout subside, folks will realize the program is still a good one.

'We want the focus to be on improvements,' she said. 'I think we will all look back on this period and say, 'Wow, people in general have better health.''

She also added that all of their workeres undergo background checks, and do more training than is required by the basics of the law.

Jones said he's unable to reveal how many navigators he talked with as their investigation continues. However, he alleged he was told that not a single employee at the Urban League of Greater Dallas received full training.

The Urban League of Greater Dallas released a statement in response to the videos:

'[The Urban League of Greater Dallas] does not condone, nor would we ever sanction, misleading the public or any individual who seeks our assistance about any issue, and particular this case, an issue as critical as health care.'

The Urban League requested unedited videos as they investigate the incidents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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