--A Mitchell man received a twoyear prison sentence Tuesday for making fraudulent Medicaid claims while he was the owner of a local rehabilitation facility.
Kim Reid, 55, was sentenced by Judge Tim Bjorkman to five years in the state penitentiary. Bjorkman suspended three years. Reid will be eligible for parole in July 2011.
Reid will be required to pay a $5,000 fine, prosecution costs of $1,485.58, court costs of $104 and the remaining $55,000 in restitution. Reid has already paid back $60,000 in restitution to the state Department of Social Services and the state Department of Human Services.
As Bjorkman issued his sentence at the Davison County Omega Seamaster 007 OM-19 Safety Center in Mitchell, at least two members of Reid's family broke out in tears.
Reid, who owned LifeLight Counseling with his wife, Elaine, has surrendered his drug and alcohol counseling certificate. The accreditation for LifeLight Counseling, which has since been sold to Abbott House, has been revoked by the state.
"We will investigate and hold accountable those who cheat South Dakota taxpayers by committing Medicaid fraud," Attorney General Marty Jackley said in a news release about the sentencing Tuesday.
Reid pleaded guilty earlier this year to making false Medicaid claims. He Omega Seamaster Americas Cup OM-49 to having clients sign their names to roster sheets either too long after counseling sessions took place or, in some cases, for sessions the clients had never attended.
Reid's lawyer, Doug Dailey, asked Bjorkman to fashion a sentence without prison time, claiming Reid's crimes were a result of "mismanagement of his own business."
He also noted that the minority of the claims were made for services not actually rendered.
"He just got to a point in his life where he was dealing with too much and kind of stuck his head in the sand with regard to management," Dailey said. "Everything got out of hand."
Dailey entered three letters of support for Reid and copies of Omega Seamaster Automatic OM-37 letters written by Reid as evidence.
While prosecuting attorney Paul Kramer agreed with much of Dailey's assessment, he said intentional fraud was committed by Reid and a prison sentence is therefore in order.
Kramer also praised the unnamed employee who first alerted authorities to Reid's fraudulent practices.
During sentencing, Bjorkman acknowledged that most of the claims made by Reid were actually for services rendered, although the paperwork was filled out Omega Seamaster Co-Axial OM-11 since many of the signatures were obtained after the services were rendered.
He also called fraud an "insidious practice" and acknowledged a prior felony conviction for theft by deception from 25 years ago.
"If anyone on the planet should understand the benefit of taking full responsibility for your actions, it's a drug and alcohol counselor," Bjorkman said.
The conviction was a sharp turn for Reid, who only one year ago was helping to set up a support group for prison inmates.
Before sentencing, Reid expressed remorse for his Omega Seamaster Co-Axial OM-58 and for the emotional damage it has caused those closest to him.
"I've got a lifetime of apologies," he said.