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Idaho Falls man sentenced for Medicaid fraud

An Idaho Falls man will have to pay about $85,000 for Medicaid fraud.

John K. Baird, 49, was sentenced Tuesday on one count of provider fraud and one count of grand theft.

Seventh District Judge Joel Tingey sentenced Baird to serve five years in prison. However, the court suspended the prison sentence and placed Baird on probation for five years and ordered him to pay $84,850 in restitution.

According to a news release from the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, Baird owned The Living Farm, a business providing mental health and psychosocial rehabilitative (PSR) services. Baird used unqualified staff that did not have the education required to provide the PSR services. Baird was informed in 2008 that The Living Farm was in violation of rules for use of unqualified staff to perform PSR services.

Baird pleaded guilty to the charges Oct. 1. By pleading guilty, Baird admitted that he submitted false claims to Medicaid for PSR services provided by an unqualified employee of The Living Farm.

The Aberdeen School District contracted for PSR services from The Living Farm. The school district billed Medicaid, and received payments from Medicaid for these services provided by The Living Farm’s unqualified staff. In 2010, the district’s superintendent told Idaho Medicaid that the district may have been misled into inappropriately billing Medicaid for services provided by The Living Farm’s unqualified staff. The school district entered into a repayment agreement for the overpayment amount.

The criminal investigation was initiated by a referral from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Bureau of Audits and Investigations. Bonneville County Prosecutor Bruce L. Pickett referred this case to the Idaho Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

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