NORTON – (May 24, 2019) – A Norton woman yesterday pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud and related charges, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.
Ashley Elizabeth Chavez, 23, pleaded guilty in Norton County District Court to one count of Medicaid fraud and one count of felony possession of a controlled substance. The charges stemmed from an investigation by the attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Division and the Norton Police Department which revealed that Chavez had unlawfully taken prescription medications from a Norton County nursing facility while working as a Certified Nurse Aide in the facility. The medications, Hydrocodone, commonly known by the brand name Lortab, are opioids classified by Kansas law as a Schedule II Controlled Substance. The crimes occurred in June 2018.
As a condition of the plea, Chavez has agreed to voluntarily surrender her certification with the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services. Convictions such as this one may also result in a period during which the defendant is prohibited from being paid wages through a government health care program. District Judge Deborah S. Anderson accepted the plea and scheduled sentencing for July 8 at 9:30 a.m.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Meghan Markey of Schmidt’s office.
Kansas filed the case as part of a sweep of Medicaid fraud enforcement actions involving misconduct by health care providers. As part of that effort, the Kansas attorney general filed criminal charges against ten individuals. Five of those individuals have now been found guilty. Five additional cases remain pending.