• Medicaid fraud charges dropped against speech therapist after 5 years

    By: Wendy Corona


    WALTON COUNTY, Ga. - A five-year legal battle came to an abrupt end Thursday when charges were suddenly dismissed for a Walton County speech therapist accused of fraud. 
    This case has been the talk of the town in Monroe, Ga. for the past five years. A therapist who often speaks up for the Medicaid rights of the kids she serves, feels like that's the very thing that got her into trouble.
    “It has been just emotionally devastating,” said speech pathologist Ellen Roberts. 

    Roberts told Channel 2’s Wendy Corona she could not believe it when a grand jury indicted her in 2009 on Medicaid fraud charges. 
    “I was just totally clueless like, where did this come from?” Roberts said.

    A five-year process ended when 10 days before the trial was set to start the case was dismissed.

    For 37 years, Roberts has worked with children and adults, some of whom are Medicaid recipients. 

    In 2007, Roberts spoke out on "Good Morning America" for the kids who would likely be affected with a change in the way Georgia would provide them care. 

    An ordinary audit followed.  After that, so did Medicaid fraud charges as they related to four patients.

    “Well, maybe it’s because we were too vocal about wanting to keep services for children,” Roberts said trying making sense of it.
    Among the state’s allegations: not providing services to children. 

    “(They said) that we were babysitting and that we had not gotten prescriptions from the doctors, and that no progress was being made,” Roberts said.

    These are allegations Marcus Washington, whose daughter is treated by Roberts, says he can’t believe.  Washington said his daughter’s progress “is making me a very, very proud father.”

    Roberts said she hopes legal trouble will not be the case for anyone else who decides to speak up for a cause. 

    As for Roberts, she said she feels, “like the world has been lifted off of me.”

    An email from the State Attorney General’s Office stated a critical witness changed their testimony and so prosecutors could not go forward. 

    The state does, however, have a six-month window, during which time it can reopen the case.

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