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Alabama psychologist admits $1.5 million Medicaid fraud

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A Birmingham psychologist has admitted to trying to defraud Medicaid by billing for counseling services that were never provided, state and federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

Sharon Waltz has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud Medicaid of at least $1.5 million, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town announced. Waltz also agreed to pay restitution to Medicaid in the amount of $1.5 million, they said.

Waltz billed the Alabama Medicaid Agency for counseling services to at-risk youth that her company did not actually perform, according to a prosecution filing in federal court.

“The greed of this defendant deprived mental health care to many at-risk young people in Alabama, with the focus on profit rather than the efficacy of care,” Town said in a statement.

The state Medicaid Agency started the investigation after an audit showed that Waltz’s billings jumped from $99,000 to more than $2.2 million over two years.

Alabama Attorney General Marshall said in a statement that it was “a callous abuse of this trust and a fraud of staggering proportions.”

Court filings did not indicate if Waltz has an attorney. A federal judge has scheduled an arraignment for next week.

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