February 16, 2018 10:57 PM
A Maplewood woman has been charged with stealing more than $24,000 in money that was supposed to be used to care for her disabled son.
The Minnesota Attorney General's Office said 70-year-old Barbara Williams-Bell defrauded the Medicaid program by turning in falsified paperwork to the state, according to court documents filed Wednesday.
The criminal complaint explains the investigation began in 2015, when a complaint was filed with the Department of Human Services Surveillance and Integrity Review Section, or SIRS.
"She was in charge of the care for her son," Martinson said during an interview with KSTP.
Martinson said dozens of timesheets that were submitted to his agency showed her son was getting help. DHS said timesheets like the ones Martinson referred to include documentation requirements, such as the arrival and departure time of the care assistant, a detailed description of the work that was performed and several signatures.
"They were coming in, they were signed, there was really no reason to question them," Martinson said.
According to court documents, in November 2015, investigators learned Bell's son had told a public health nurse "that he cared for himself," and that there was no one assisting him.
The criminal complaint explains investigators believe Bell forged the documents using the personal information of a woman who had worked with her before.
"She took somebody's identity and used that and took the money from the system," Martinson said.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services accepted the claims. After the investigation was finished, the attorney general's office concluded that $24,902.33 was paid out of the Medicaid program for services that never happened. The criminal complaint says Bell personally received more than $18,000.
When reached for comment at her home, Bell denied the allegations, saying she's "never committed fraud" and "has never stolen" anything.
Bell has been charged with four counts of theft by swindle and two counts of theft by false representation. She is expected to make her first court appearance in March.
Updated: February 16, 2018 10:57 PM
Created: February 16, 2018 06:44 PM
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