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Attorney General's News Release

June 18, 2010

Attorney General Koster files charges against in-home health care provider -- Pemiscot County woman faces 4 felony counts --

Caruthersville, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster said he has filed felony Medicaid fraud charges against Crystal D. Abernathy of Caruthersville. Pemiscot County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Wynes joined Koster in filing the charges. The investigation, led by Koster's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, revealed that Abernathy, an in-home care provider, received Medicaid payment for services she did not provide.

Koster said between January 2009 and March 2009, Abernathy was working at NHC Healthcare approximately 40 hours per week. At the same time, she submitted timesheets to another employer, Smith & Associates Home Care, claiming she was providing 33 hours of in-home care to a Medicaid recipient. The investigation uncovered that Abernathy was providing no more than 4 hours of services per week to the Medicaid recipient, her ex-mother-in-law. She received payment for 29 hours of services per week that she did not perform.

Abernathy faces 4 counts of making a false statement to receive a health care payment, a class C felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.

As in all criminal cases, the charges against the defendant are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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