Former Missouri official indicted on fraud charges

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Fraud on Friday, January 6, 2012

A county official in Missouri was recently indicted on twelve counts of fraud. It is important to remember that as serious as these charges may be, indictments for white collar crimes are not the same as a conviction. Indictments in the state of Missouri and elsewhere are merely the formal charges of an alleged crime. The county official still retains the right to be considered innocent until proven otherwise by a court of law.

The fraud was allegedly committed by the former public administrator for Jasper County. The charges against the 59-year-old woman involve a $200,000 fraud scheme in which she allegedly obtained funds from Medicaid and Social Security to subsidize administration costs for her office.

The woman has been charged with two counts each of health care fraud, theft of public money, as well as Social Security and Medicaid fraud. She is also facing four counts of document fraud charges.

Authorities say the fraud occurred during the period that she served as public administrator from January 2005 to December 2008. The charges against the woman involve 14 wards that were designated by a circuit court to be under her care as she served as the guardian and conservator. These wards primarily served people with mental disabilities.

The woman allegedly received just over $196,000 in Medicaid and Social Security benefits that were illegally used by her office. Authorities say she instructed her employees to submit false applications for Medicaid for the wards under her custody, which stated that the wards had assets below $1,000 when in fact they reportedly had over $1,000 in assets.

The funds procured from those transactions were reportedly used for the payment of administration fees, tax preparation fees, as well as attorney and court costs related to the medical care of those wards.

This former county official has an uphill battle ahead of her in preparing her criminal defense. Even so, she has the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Those who are prosecuting her now have the challenging task of gathering the evidence that proves her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Source: Waynesville Daily Guide, “Former county official indicted for fraud,” Dec. 20, 2011