Former OKC School Principal Charged With Medicaid Fraud

Friday, January 18th 2013, 6:13 pm
By: News 9

A former elementary school principal, her husband and another man were charged with Medicaid Fraud by the Office of the Attorney General, Friday.

Investigators say Medicaid lost more than $21,000 because of the scam.

Heronville Elementary school children were recruited for counseling by their own principal, Cynthia Barchue. Prosecutors say she was part of a scheme and stole thousands of dollars from Medicaid.

Barchue and her husband, Joseph Barchue, are facing Medicaid fraud charges along with Oklahoma probation officer Michael Fenner.

Investigators alleged the three performed some counseling on students while with YouthCare of Oklahoma, but charged for more than they actually did. In some cases they only saw a child a time or two.

Prosecutors say Cynthia Barchue racked up more than $16,000 in fake charges, her husband made more than $5,000 in fake charges and Fenner more than $600. That brought the total to more than $21,000. News 9 tried contacting Fenner and the Barchues, but neither responded Friday.

Investigators have been cracking down on similar cases because the state now assigns a unique ID number to every licensed counselor in the state, which keeps track of their activity.

"You can tell if someone is charging more than 24-hours in a 24-hour period, or you can do other things where it pops up a red flag and they can check on it and get it to us," explained Clay.

The Attorney General's Office says Oklahoma City Public Schools actually helped in the investigation. Superintendent Karl Springer released the following statement on Friday about the incident:

"The Oklahoma City Public School District was informed on Thursday by the Oklahoma State Attorney General's office that Cynthia Barchue, Greystone Upper Elementary School principal, will be arrested on charges of Medicaid fraud on Friday. The district's own internal investigation led us to contact the Attorney General's office in the spring of 2011. We immediately turned our records over to the Attorney General at that time and Friday's arrests are a result of that investigation."

"We take any allegation of wrongdoing seriously, and we applaud the Attorney General's office for their work on this case. I can assure you, we will not tolerate any unethical or illegal practices as prohibited by Oklahoma and Federal law. In the case of Cynthia Barchue, all documents conducted in the internal investigation were turned over to the Attorney General and are being used as evidence in the case against Mrs. Barchue. OKCPS could not previously take disciplinary action against Mrs. Barchue because it would have jeopardized the federal prosecutor's case."

"It is my commitment to the parents, students and constituents of Oklahoma City Public Schools that I have and will continue to report and cooperate with all necessary agencies on wrongdoings uncovered in the district."