Crime & Courts

Wichita woman defrauded Medicaid by claiming she was caring for a jail inmate, AG says

Two Wichitans have admitted to defrauding Medicaid after a woman claimed she was caring for a man who was actually in jail.

Gretta Elaine Smith, 52, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Sedgwick County District Court to one felony count of Medicaid fraud, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a news release. Joe Ross Mitchell, 65, pleaded guilty to the same charge last month.

An investigation by the Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Division of the Attorney General’s Office determined “Smith submitted false claims to the Medicaid program asserting that she provided in-home personal care attendant services to beneficiary (Mitchell),” Schmidt said. At the time, Mitchell was actually incarcerated on unrelated charges.

After Medicaid paid Smith for the false claims, she deposited at least a portion — but possibly all — of the $2,794.44 into Mitchell’s jail commissary account, the investigators found. Mitchell spent the money on discretionary items.

The crimes happened between March and May 2018.

Mitchell’s sentencing is scheduled for March 4, and Smith’s is set for March 23.

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