For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: June 15, 2009
Owners of People’s Denture Center of Caldwell Sentenced
(Boise) - Alfred and Vera Lopez, owners of the People’s Denture Center of Caldwell, were sentenced today for Medicaid provider fraud, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. Third District Judge Thomas J. Ryan ordered the Lopezes to serve three years of probation and ordered them to pay $6,863 in restitution. The couple must also perform 200 hours of community service.
The Lopezes pleaded guilty on April 20, 2009, to one felony count of provider fraud. The guilty plea was made pursuant to the 1970 U.S. Supreme Court Case of North Carolina vs. Alford, which allows a defendant to plead guilty to take advantage of a plea agreement while asserting that he is innocent. Courts treat an Alford Plea the same as any other guilty plea.
By pleading guilty, the Lopezes admit that a jury could find they were responsible for billing the Idaho Medicaid program for dentures and other services that were never provided to Medicaid recipients. The Department of Health and Welfare, Program Integrity Unit, had a history of recovering money from the Lopezes. Between 2001 and 2007, the Program Integrity Unit recovered over $4,500 concerning similar allegations. When it became clear the conduct was continuing despite repeated intervention by the Department of Health and Welfare, the matter was referred to the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for investigation and prosecution.
To report Medicaid provider fraud, contact the Idaho Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at (208) 334–4100 or by e–mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. To report fraud by Medicaid recipients, contact the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
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