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Criminal law: Fraudulent Medicaid claims lead to guilty plea

Felony offenders in Colorado might be eligible for alternative placement or sentencing instead of incarceration. Community corrections programs provide convicted offenders the opportunity to change their behavior and also have restricted access to the community. An example of this progressive approach to criminal law involves a speech pathologist who pleaded guilty to insurance fraud charges.

According to court documents, the therapist received $1.9 million from Medicaid over a period of six years, of which $1.2 million was for phony claims. The attorney general says the woman filed claims for therapy sessions that never took place. In some cases, it was reportedly determined that the therapist had never treated some of the patients on her claims, nor had they ever heard of her.

The defendant pleaded guilty to two felony counts of theft, and in return, she received a sentence to participate in the community corrections program for eight years for one theft count. For the second count, she will serve probation of 10 years. The attorney general says such fraud robs others of access to vital medical coverage.

Anyone facing such serious charges in Colorado or at the federal level will likely benefit by consulting with an attorney experienced in the field of criminal law. A lawyer can assess the charges and the available evidence before suggesting the most appropriate way to proceed. If the best option appears to be a guilty plea, the lawyer will seek to negotiate a favorable plea arrangement with prosecutors, perhaps including community service in place of incarceration.

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