A 39-year-old man from Clarks Summit could face up to 21 years in state prison and $45,000 in fines after pleading guilty Friday in Wyoming County Court to medicaid fraud, theft by deception and tampering with records.
Phillip J. Kuna, who had been employed as a mobile therapist providing psychotherapy services to the Children’s Service Center in Tunkhannock from Aug. 18, 2014, to Jan. 14, 2016, appeared before President Judge Russell Shurtleff.
According to court records, Kuna was terminated by the Children’s Service Center in 2016 after it had learned that he was not meeting with all clients on a regular basis.
An internal review of his time with the agency revealed numerous discrepancies on encounter forms, and the matter was turned over to the state attorney general’s office for further review.
Their investigation focused on his alleged work with nine students at Mehoopany Elementary School in Wyoming County and six children at Elk Lake Elementary School in Susquehanna County.
Parents of two of the nine Mehoopany students indicated they did not even know Kuna, and when the AG’s office showed them encounter forms, those parents told investigators that their signatures had been forged.
Court records show that the AG’s office visited both elementary schools - which had strict sign-in policies for visitors- and there were approximately 100 times Kuna submitted encounter forms for services rendered at the schools when he did not sign the visitors’ logs.
In fact, there were four instances at Mehoopany and two at Elk Lake for which encounter forms were submitted when the student was absent from school.
Janice Martino-Gottshall of the attorney general’s office who prosecuted the case Friday said that Kuna had been compensated for hundreds of hours of work not performed, and that restitution derived from fraudulent encounter forms totaled $19,012, a sum that Kuna and his attorney Joseph Toczydlowski stipulated as probably being correct and having been billed to the Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, a managed care group. The funds were covered through Medicaid’s Medical Assistance program.
During testimony Friday prior to signing his guilty plea, Kuna acknowledged to the judge that he was not currently employed.
Judge Shurtleff said Kuna would be sentenced at a later date.
Other guilty pleas entered Friday in Wyoming County:
*Thomas Ryan Andzulis Jr., 37, of Nicholson, pleaded guilty to retail theft on Apr. 27, 2017. He was immediately sentenced to 9-24 months in state prison, a $500 fine and $695.07 in restitution. Andzulis waived his rights to an extradition hearing and said he was willing to face additional charges in Broome County, N.Y.
*Brielle Lynn Ankenbauer, 25, of Factoryville, pleaded guilty to DUI, second offense, on Dec. 7, 2017.
*Roger Dale Canfield III, 25, of Scranton, pleaded guilty to theft by unlawful taking on Oct. 7, 2017.
*Nicole Marie Davis, 32, of West Pittston, pleaded guilty to retail theft on Nov. 5, 2017.
*Daren John Dixon, 42, of Wyoming, pleaded guilty to DUI on Jan. 6.
*Anthony Jeffrey Falcone, 19, of Meshoppen, pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia on July 10, 2017.
*Damyan Mark Hopper, 19, of Noxen, pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia on Feb. 24, 2017.
*Ashley Marie Inman, 30, of Tunkhannock, pleaded guilty to obstructing administration of law enforcement authorities on Dec. 14, 2017.
*Courtney Lee Johnson, 41, of Dalton, pleaded guilty to DUI, second offense, on Nov. 25, 2017.
*Harley Conrad Kluth, 36, of Laceyville, pleaded guilty to burglary on Nov. 19, 2017. He was immediately sentenced to 30 months in drug treatment court, commencing with 30 days house arrest, and faces a fine of $500 and $49,475.46 in restitution.
*Christian Lou McGuire, 18, of Noxen, pleaded guilty to simple assault on Nov. 2, 2017.
*Kyle Joseph McHugh, 20, of Factoryville, pleaded guilty to recklessly endangering another person on Nov. 6, 2016.
*Charles Alvin Miller, 22, of Hop Bottom, pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia on June 20, 2017; to theft by unlawful taking on Nov. 22, 2017; and to forgery on Nov. 22, 2017.
*Dakota James Murphy, 19, of Forkston, pleaded guilty to theft by unlawful taking on Oct. 10, 2017.
*Jeffrey J. Murphy, 57, of Tunkhannock, pleaded guilty to DUI of a controlled substance on March 3, 2017.
*Jack Edward Parry, 56, of Tunkhannock, pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia on Oct. 27, 2017.
*Holly Lorraine Smith, 60, of Tunkhannock, pleaaded guilty to DUI of a controlled substance on March 1, 2017; and to DUI of a controlled substance, second offense, on Jan. 30, 2017.
*Kylie-Ann Lucas Tunis, 25, of Harveys Lake, pleaded guilty to theft by unlawful taking on Dec. 1, 2017.
*Nakita Jessica Winiavski, 28, of Scranton, pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia on Jan. 27, 2018.