March 07A former LifeSkills employee pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of Medicaid fraud, theft and forgery.
Timothy Schwartz, 39, of Scottsville was indicted last month by a Warren County grand jury on one count of theft by unlawful taking of property valued at $10,000 or greater, one count of devising or engaging in a scheme to defraud the Kentucky Medical Assistance Program of $300 or more and five counts of third-degree forgery.
Authorities claim Schwartz, who worked as a support broker at LifeSkills, engaged in a scheme with Mark Huff, 40, and his wife, Mandy Huff, 25, both of Scottsville, to falsify time sheets and forge signatures of family members of disabled individuals, charging Medicaid $32,000 for services not provided.
Mark Huff is charged with theft by unlawful taking of property valued at $10,000 or greater and one count of Medicaid fraud, while Mandy Huff has been charged with theft by unlawful taking of property valued at $500 or greater and Medicaid fraud.
Schwartz, who is in Warren County Regional Jail under a $5,000 bond, worked with LifeSkills, which provides services to people who are developmentally disabled as part of Kentucky Medicaid's Supports for Community Living program.
Mark and Mandy Huff were documented by Schwartz as working in the SCL program, according to a news release from the Kentucky Attorney General's Office.
According to indictments, the alleged scheme lasted from Oct. 8, 2010, to Oct. 7, 2011, and included the submission of false Medicaid claims for payment on behalf of five people for whom services were never rendered.
The Huffs are alleged to have been complicit in the fraud and theft by also falsifying time sheets when no services were provided.
"Following an internal investigation, LifeSkills self-reported these allegations to the Office of the Inspector General," said Shelley Johnson, a spokeswoman for state Attorney General Jack Conway, in an email.
The OIG referred the case to the attorney general's Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Unit, Johnson said, which is prosecuting the case.
Mark and Mandy Huff have pleaded not guilty to the charges. They are each free on a $5,000 surety bond.
The three are scheduled to appear in Warren Circuit Court on March 19 before Warren Circuit Judge Steve Wilson.
The theft charges Schwartz and Mark Huff face are Class C felonies punishable by five to 10 years in prison, while the theft charge against Mandy Huff is a Class D felony carrying a maximum punishment of five years in prison.
Medicaid fraud is also a Class D felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 or double the amount of money collected in the fraud, whichever is greater.
Third-degree forgery is a Class A misdemeanor carrying potential penalties of 90 days to 12 months incarceration and a fine of $250 to $500.
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