An Indiana school official was recently charged with fraud after police say she sought medical treatment for a student using her son’s name.
Casey Smitherman faces multiple charges including insurance fraud and official misconduct, as well as insurance application fraud and identity deception, CBS affiliate WREG reports.
Court documents say a 15-year-old student didn’t come to school in early Jan.because he had a sore throat. Smitherman picked him up, WREG reported, and took him to a med check for an examination; however, she is accused of signing the student in under her son’s name and also filling a prescription for him under her son’s name.
The teen tore the name off the bottle’s label because he “knew it was wrong” and “to have a prescription in his possession with a different name is bad,” court documents said.
Police got a tip about the situation and followed up with the teen’s guardian on Jan. 16. A day later, Smotherman talked to police about the incident.
She allegedly told police that she was worried about the student when she realized he wasn’t at school. In the past, she said, she bought clothes for him and helped clean his house, court documents said.
Smitherman said she didn’t call the Department of Child Services because she was afraid he would be placed in foster care. She reportedly admitted to using her son’s name to get him examined and to get him a prescription.
According to WREG, medical records obtained showed a prescription filed under her son’s name on Jan. 9. The total claim was $233.
Smitherman released a statement saying:
“Recently, I was given notice one of our students was not at school. I went to his home to check on him, and he told me that he had not felt well enough to come to school. After making sure he had eaten, I could tell he had some of the symptoms of strep throat. As a parent, I know how serious this illness can be if left untreated, and I took him to an emergency clinic.”
“After one clinic refused to give the boy necessary treatment, I took him to a different clinic and told them he was my son. I knew he did not have insurance, and I wanted to do all I could to help him get well. I know this action was wrong. In the moment, my only concern was for this child’s health,” she continued.
“I have been charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor, and I have cooperated with authorities every step of the way. I turned myself in to the Elwood police this afternoon and was immediately released on bail. It is my understanding the prosecutor has agreed to a diversion program and that should be finalized yet this afternoon.”
“The Elwood community has been welcoming since I started this position, and I am so grateful for your support. I am committed to this community and our students, and I regret if this action has undermined your trust in me. From the beginning, my ultimate goal has been to provide the best environment for Elwood students’ growth physically, mentally and academically, and I remain focused on that purpose, Smitherman said.
The school board issued a statement after Smitherman was charged.
“Dr. Smitherman has tirelessly worked for the best interests of all students in Elwood Community Schools since she was hired. She made an unfortunate mistake, but we understand that it was out of concern for this child’s welfare. We know she understands what she did was wrong, but she continues to have our support. It is our understanding that the prosecutor has agreed to a diversion program and that will be finalized this afternoon.”
Smitherman reportedly reached a deal with the county prosecutor–no more arrests for a year and the fraud charges will be dropped. She also has reportedly returned to work.