Michigan AG charges autism services worker with fraud

Centria autism services 101618_1539728108346.jpg.jpg

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — Fraud charges have been filed against a woman who worked for Centria Healthcare, the largest provider of autism therapy in Michigan.

The attorney general’s office announced charges Friday against Christine Leonard of Swartz Creek, who is accused of billing Medicaid for services that weren’t performed. Attorney General Bill Schuette calls it “fraud, pure and simple.”

Records show Leonard appeared in court Friday in East Lansing and asked for a court-appointed lawyer. She didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Schuette’s office says a separate investigation of Centria remains opens. The company has denied wrongdoing and is suing former employees who apparently have talked to investigators.

Kent County’s mental health agency Network180 contracts with Centria to provide autism therapy. In a separate case, a Wyoming mother said a behavior technician with Centria abused her 14-year-old son at least three times, including twice at their home. The Wyoming Department of Public Safety confirmed its investigating the allegations.

The state had offered an $8 million economic-development grant to Centria but suspended it earlier this year.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

News 8 Links