February 14, 2013
How many more mommy’s are going to go to the slammer before they stop participating in the fraud at dental clinics across the country.
GoEarie.com is reporting Dr. Kristi Ayn Liebau-Grassi is going to be spending 4 months in federal prison, 8 months of house arrest then 3 years of supervised release. She admitted guilt to defrauding Medicaid out of $289,000 between 2008 and 2011.
After the Medicaid fraud in Pennsylvania, suspiciously, Kristi moved her family to Texas to practice dentistry. Did she hear that’s where to make the big bucks in Medicaid dental fraud? She ended up working for Pacific Dental’s Sienna Modern Dentistry in Missouri City, Texas.
I bet she would like to go back and rethink all those decisions she made back then, don’t you? It’s not just the fine, the restitution, the prison time, etc., it’s the pain and stress of her entire family which will continue well past the time her supervision ends, something in 2017.
Counting the 3 years of waiting for the Feds to come knocking, it will be a total of 7 years by the time this is tragedy can even begin to heal. Her children’s lives where thrown away, for $289,000!
What a shame Kristi didn’t think about her children, all under 7 years old including a 2 year old who has a serious heart problem, BEFORE, she decided Medicaid fraud was the path to wealth.
It’s ironic she tried to use the needs of her own children to stay out of prison, when screwing over other people’s children sent her there.
By ED PALATTELLA, Erie Times-News
A 40-year-old dentist who defrauded Medicaid while treating children in the Erie area asked a judge to consider her own children at her sentencing.
The judge took Kristi Ayn Liebau-Grassi's concerns into account on Wednesday as he ordered her incarcerated for four months, followed by eight months of house arrest.
Liebau-Grassi, a married mother of five children who now lives near Houston, faced a recommended sentence of a year to 18 months in prison under the federal sentencing guidelines.
Liebau-Grassi, formerly of Fairview Township, cried in federal court in Erie as she apologized for the fraud. She pleaded guilty in September to 14 felony counts that she falsely billed Medicaid for about $289,000 from January 2008 to March 2011 while she was practicing in Lawrence Park Township and at the UPMC Hamot Surgery Center. Most of the patients were children.
"I will never do anything like this again," she said. "I am so sorry."
But Liebau-Grassi asked U.S. District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin to spare her a prison sentence and give her house arrest. She cited her need to care for her children, all younger than 7 years old, including a 2-year-old son who suffers from a congenital heart defect and developmental problems.
McLaughlin said the fraud was serious enough to warrant a prison sentence, particularly to discourage other dentists or doctors who might use their practices as "a conduit for fraud." However, he said the needs of Liebau-Grassi's 2-year-old son were significant enough to justify splitting the sentence between prison and house arrest.
McLaughlin also sentenced Liebau-Grassi to three years of supervised release, which will follow the home detention, and he ordered her to pay full restitution. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marshall Piccinini told McLaughlin he had no objection to a sentence with some house arrest as long Liebau-Grassi was incarcerated first.
ED PALATTELLA can be reached at 870-1813 or by e-mail. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNpalattella.