TWIN FALLS • A deputy coroner has been accused of stealing more than $100,000 from Medicaid and lying about transporting patients for medical care.
Shaiyenne Anton, 39, was arraigned Wednesday in Twin Falls County District Court on charges of fraudulently presenting a false claim for public assistance, grand theft, two counts of forgery, computer crime and obstructing an investigation.
Anton billed for nearly $106,000 in mileage reimbursement over the course of a decade, as she lied about taking Medicaid patients to and from medical appointments, say investigators from the state Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
She began working with Medicaid on June 1, 2000, as an individual non-emergency transportation provider, says a court affidavit.
She was terminated from the Medicaid program on March 5, 2012.
The federal health program for the poor reimburses providers for non-emergency transportation of patients to and from appointments covered by Medicaid.
The criminal complaint against Anton says she made fraudulent claims that she provided services for 20 Medicaid patients.
Investigators compared data showing all claims Anton billed to Medicaid from Jan. 1, 2000, through June 21, 2011, and data from Idaho Medicaid showing all services billed from each of Anton's clients during that time.
Checking the times Anton claimed to transport clients with the times they actually needed transportation, paralegal Sandra Seevers of the state Attorney General's Office determined that the two did not match.
But Anton was paid nearly $106,000 for services she billed from Jan. 5, 2000, through June 21, 2011, Seevers found.
In the affidavit, Seevers writes that she left out Anton’s claims if they were within two days before or after a patient was transported, in case Anton simply erred in entering the date.
Investigators also got Anton's time sheets from her job as a senior deputy coroner.
"The data comparison revealed Anton working at her job at the Twin Falls County Coroner's Office on many of the days she also billed Medicaid for transportation services, occasionally for 400-mile round-trip transportation," Seevers wrote in her affidavit.
Another affidavit, written by investigator Michael Steen, said Anton was the largest transportation biller for her provider specialty in 2009, so an investigation began in March 2012 into her claims between 2007 and 2010.
The initial probe revealed excessive miles billed, billing for three months after a client was reported to have moved out of state, billings that a client confirmed to be false and billings without corresponding medical services.
Four times in the fall and winter of 2011-12, a Medicaid analyst sent Anton written requests for records to support the services she said she provided in 2009, Steen’s affidavit says. On Jan. 26, 2012, Anton sent the analyst a hand-written wrote with two typed pages. The note said the two pages included all Anton "found as of today." Anton asked for a few more days to find more documentation, but she never followed up, Steen wrote.
Steen wrote that he reviewed the two pages, and they contained some dates and miles, but not all of Anton's 2009 billing.
Seevers reviewed the information Anton provided and compared it with Medicaid data. Her comparison showed no Medicaid-covered services were provided on the dates Anton gave.
Thursday, Anton was still employed as the senior deputy coroner, said County Coroner Dennis Chambers.
She is set for a preliminary hearing Aug. 12, when prosecutors will try to show they have enough evidence to take Anton to trial.
Medicaid Payments to Anton According to Investigators:
July 1, 2001, to June 30, 2002: $ 552.15
July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2003: $2,301.53
July 1, 2003, to June 30, 2004: $5,115.04
July 1, 2004, to June 30, 2005: $5,698.16
July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006: $9,916.80
July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2007: $15,043.60
July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008: $18,453.60
July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009: $16,730.00
July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010: $16,585.90
July 1, 2010, to June 21, 2011: $14,225.16