New Haven woman convicted in Medicaid fraud case

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Submitting fraudulent Medicaid claims and stealing the identities of Medicaid recipients earned a New Haven woman a seven-year sentence, according to the Connecticut Division of Justice.

A Hartford Superior Court judge on Thursday sentenced Ethel Bethea, 61, to seven years in prison, suspended after one year served and five years of probation.

Bethea was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $101,408.97, with $38,000 due by June 10 and $63,408.97 to be paid while on probation.

She is also prohibited from acting as a Medicaid provider and is “subject to mandatory exclusion as a health care provider from certain federally funded health programs, consistent with federal and state laws and regulations “.

According to the Justice Division, Bethea pleaded guilty under the provisions of the Alford Doctrine to:

  • First degree theft by defrauding a public community
  • Health insurance fraud
  • Third degree identity theft

The charges stem from an investigation that found Bethea, who operated her own business called Ethel Bethea Counseling, submitted hundreds of claims over the course of a year for services she did not actually provide.

Officials said she non-consensually used several people's Medicaid ID numbers to submit fraudulent claims, netting her more than $100,000.

She also claimed to have no income and enrolled herself as a Medicaid recipient, receiving personal medical services paid for by Medicaid.

Bethea was approved as a Connecticut Medical Assistance Provider (CMAP) by the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) in 2018. She could provide services as a Behavioral Health Clinician with a specialty as a Licensed Certified Behavioral Health Counselor alcohol and drugs.

Anyone with knowledge of suspected fraud or abuse in the public health care system is asked to contact the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Chief State Attorney's Office at (860) 258-5986.

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