The superintendent of an Indiana school district was charged with fraud for allegedly using her son’s name to help a sick student receive medical treatment.
NBC News reports that Casey Smitherman, superintendent of Elwood Community School Corporation, has been charged with insurance fraud, identity deception, insurance application fraud and official misconduct.
Police in Elwood, Ind., say they received a tip that Smitherman took a 15-year-old student to an urgent care facility on Jan. 9 after the teenager missed school because of a sore throat, according to an affidavit.
Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings says Smitherman took the student to one urgent care location but was denied treatment because she is not his guardian. That’s when Smitherman took the student to St. Vincent Med in Elwood and used her insurance to have the student evaluated under her son’s name, Cummings alleges.
The Anderson Herald Bulletin reports the court case has been resolved through an Agreement for Withheld Prosecution. The Prosecutor’s Office has agreed to dismiss the charges if Smitherman is not arrested in the coming 12 months.
Smitherman and her husband, Steve, started helping out the teen and his guardian, Charles Gerard, 97, a great-uncle, according to an affidavit. That assistance included buying clothing for the boy and cleaning his home.
The superintendent told police that she was worried about the student when he did not show up for school, and she went by his house and saw that he was ill, according to the affidavit. She said after leaving urgent care she went to a pharmacy to have a prescription filled, again using her insurance and son’s name.
Smitherman says she did not contact child welfare authorities because she feared the student would be placed in a foster home. Smitherman also says she has helped the student in the past by buying clothes for him and cleaning his home, the affidavit states.
Authorities contacted the student, who told them that he knew it was “bad” to be in possession of someone else’s prescription so he tore the label off the pill bottle.
Smitherman has apologized for misusing her insurance, and the Elwood School Board has pledged its continued support for her.
The superintendent says the 15-year-old boy is just one of many students in the district she has sought to help.
“The administrators and I have been working on strategies for a variety of students who have not been coming to school on a regular basis,” Smitherman says.