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Statewide Medicaid Fraud Sweep Nets Two Local Women

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Two women who share a home in the Rheems section of West Donegal Township are accused of defrauding the Medicaid system of more than $10,000.

Charges against caregiver Laura L. Dunn, 63, and client Diane E. Espenshade, 44, were announced Friday, June 29, by Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Dunn and Espenshade were among 15 people facing felony charges over Medicaid fraud in a statewide sweep.

The charges, arising out of 12 investigations, identified more than $237,000 in fraudulent reimbursements paid by Pennsylvania’s Medicaid Program. The initiative was coordinated by the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Justice Department.

“These Medicaid fraud cases involve 15 defendants who stole tax dollars, falsified records for care they were supposed to provide, and lied for personal gain,” Shapiro said. “Medicaid provides essential medical care to low-income Pennsylvanians and children with serious medical conditions. Criminals who defraud Medicaid are stealing from our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians. I’m holding them accountable.”

Dunn and Espenshade were charged in Dauphin County with Medicaid fraud, theft by deception, tampering with public records, and conspiracy. Charges were filed in Dauphin County because the claims were submitted to a state office in Harrisburg.

The attorney general’s office said Dunn and Espenshade submitted fraudulent claims to Medicaid that stated Dunn provided services during times when Espenshade was in the hospital, incarcerated in the Lancaster County Prison, and was receiving services from another agency. Medicaid paid $10,400 for the fraudulent claims, according to an announcement from the attorney general’s office.

The Advocate invited Dunn and Espenshade to be interviewed for this article, but got no response by press time.

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