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Attorney General's News Release

March 7, 2011

Attorney General Koster announces plea-sentencing in Pemiscot County Medicaid fraud case

Caruthersville, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster said today Crystal Abernathy, of Caruthersville, has pled guilty to two felony counts of Medicaid fraud. He said Pemiscot County Judge Fred Copeland placed Abernathy on five years probation and ordered her to pay restitution to the Medicaid program.

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.

“One of my top priorities as Attorney General is to go after those who are cheating Missouri taxpayers by committing Medicaid fraud,” Koster said. “The judgment against Ms. Abernathy should be a warning to anyone who would attempt to cheat the Medicaid system that we will find you and prosecute to the fullest extent.”

Koster said citizens should report suspected Medicaid provider fraud or abuse and neglect to his Medicaid Fraud Hotline toll free at 800-286-3932, e-mail the complaint to or complete a complaint form at the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Website at

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