Woman Accused of Abusing Special Needs Son Charged in Medicaid Fraud Case

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced her office has filed a second set of criminal charges against a Pittsburgh caregiver accused of overbilling a state disability program in part by forging the signature of her care-dependent brother.

Vonda Kay Brown, 44, was charged with three counts of Medicaid fraud, two counts of theft by deception and one count of forgery.

The charges were filed three months after Brown was charged in a separate case in which agents with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Section reported that Brown abused her special needs son and committed Medicaid fraud. In that case, Brown is accused of submerging her son’s hand in liquid hot enough to cause a severe burn and submitting time sheets for services that were never rendered for her son’s care.

Agents with the Medicaid Fraud Control Section started further investigation of Brown after receiving a referral from the state Bureau of Program Integrity, which operates under the state Department of Human Services.

The investigation revealed Brown was employed as an independent personal care attendant through Medicaid and was tasked with providing care for her brother under the Attendant Care Waiver Program. But she allegedly billed for services through Aug. 10, 2013, even though the investigation showed her brother had moved to Virginia around May 1 of that year.

Moreover, agents discovered Brown had inflated her time sheets for the period when she was in fact providing care to her brother. She was allegedly paid for 238 hours of inflated time. She also billed for 306 hours of care that she could not have provided because her brother was living in Virginia, agents allege.

The alleged fraud resulted in payments of more than $2,000. Additionally, agents said the investigation showed Brown had forged her brother’s signature on all the time sheets she submitted for payment.

Brown, 3701 California Ave., was arraigned Tuesday on the latest charges and released on her own recognizance. Her next court appearance is tentatively scheduled for June 30.

The charges filed against her in March, which include a felony count of aggravated assault, are pending in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. Brown’s boyfriend, Armando Navarro, also was charged with Medicaid fraud and other crimes in connection with the case. His case is also pending.

The cases are all being prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Nathan Giunta of the Medicaid Fraud Control Section.

A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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