Woman convicted of Medicaid fraud

Published 12:03 am Friday, August 31, 2012

Margaret Boatwright “Maggie” Smith, 28, of Andalusia was convicted of Medicaid fraud on Thursday. The prosecution was a joint effort of the 22nd Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office and the Alabama Medicaid Agency.

Circuit Judge Charles A. “Lex” Short presided over the one-day trial in which the state, represented by Assistant District Attorney Paul Adams, put on evidence that Smith filed an application for Medicaid benefits in February 2006, wherein she provided fraudulent information to the Alabama Medicaid Agency. At trial, the evidence showed that Smith reported in her application that she was separated even though she listed her husband as living in the household with her. She then changed her marital status to “single” and listed her husband as her fiancé.

Because of those fraudulent statements, her husband’s income was not considered in determining her eligibility for Medicaid benefits, and she and her child received more than $11,000 in Medicaid benefits that she would not have been entitled to had she been truthful in her application, Adams told the jury. In 2009, the fraud was discovered by the Alabama Medicaid Agency, which began an official investigation after Smith was terminated from the Medicaid program.

Smith took the stand and testified that she did not change the marital status on her application and had “no idea who did.” The jury deliberated 45 minutes before returning a verdict.

District Attorney Walt Merrell said, “Medicaid fraud and abuse cost the taxpayers of Alabama millions of dollars annually, and we take it seriously. We hope this case will be a warning to others who attempt to take advantage of programs that are meant to help the less fortunate among us. This office will prosecute all viable cases of Medicaid or any other type of fraud with vigor because we won’t stand for someone trying to cheat the hard-working taxpayers of this State out of their money.”

Smith will be sentenced on Oct. 10, 2012. Medicaid Fraud is a Class C felony in Alabama punishable by not less than one year and not more than five years, and Smith could be fined up to $10,000.00.