The son of a Newark woman charged with felony Medicaid fraud was arraigned on similar charges in court on Wednesday. Andrew Lavelle, 31, had been the subject of an arrest warrant since last week but he appeared in court by video and pleaded not guilty to two counts of welfare fraud and was released on conditions by Judge Justin P. Jiron. Lavelle’s mother, Debra Stewart, 62, of Newark, has already pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against her. The Vermont Attorney General’s Office said the charges brought against Stewart and Lavelle are the result of an investigation by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud and Residential Abuse Unit. The Attorney General says Stewart was a contracted shared living provider for two vulnerable adults under Vermont Medicaid’s Developmental Services Waiver program. It is alleged that in her role as an employer that she hired her son, Lavelle, as a respite provider and signed time sheets asserting that the vulnerable adults in her care received services from Lavelle “when, in fact, Mr. Lavelle had not provided those services,” reads the report. The State alleges that Mr. Lavelle received over $4,000 based on those false timesheets. The court ordered conditions of release which prohibit Stewart from providing care for any vulnerable adult without first receiving approval from the court. Medicaid Fraud holds a maximum of 10 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $1,000 or an amount equal to twice the amount of payments wrongfully obtained or both.
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