July 19, 2011
Jefferson City, Mo.— Attorney General Chris Koster said today that Kristi M. Smith, a provisionally licensed professional counselor in Caruthersville, has pleaded guilty to one count each of Medicaid fraud, forgery, and stealing by deceit. Each of the charges is a class C felony.
Smith admitted that she submitted claims for payment to Medicaid for children’s counseling services she did not perform. Smith also admitted that she presented documents with forged signatures as genuine in order to support the fraudulent claims. The Honorable Fred Copeland accepted the plea and set sentencing for September 20.
Koster said his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated the case and found that between November 2009 and September 2010, Smith billed the state for more than $3,264 in false claims.
"One of my top priorities as Attorney General is to prosecute those who are cheating Missouri's Medicaid system," Koster said. “This kind of illegal conduct denies medical resources that would otherwise be directed to truly needy Missourians. Those who would steal from Missouri's Medicaid system should understand this conduct will no longer be tolerated."
Koster said Smith is charged with three Class C felonies, punishable by up to seven years imprisonment and fines for each count. The court also may order restitution to the state of the amount defrauded and reimbursement of the costs of bringing the prosecution, plus civil penalties and damages.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or complete a complaint form at the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Website at http://www.ago.mo.gov/divisions/medicaid-fraud-control-unit-faqs.htm.
Koster commended Assistant Attorneys General Justine Finney Guyer and Arvids Petersons for their work on the case.