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Friday, August 27, 2010

Autism Fraud Case in CA

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

A former partner at a well-known law firm and his marketing consultant wife were arrested Wednesday on felony charges of bilking the San Francisco school district and private insurers out of about $400,000 via fraudulent bills for treatment of their autistic son, officials say.

The San Francisco couple, Jonathan S. Dickstein and Barclay J. Lynn, both 43, surrendered Wednesday and are expected to appear in court this morning for arraignment on 30 counts of fraud, theft and conspiracy, authorities say.

They were briefly jailed Wednesday on $100,000 bail each but were released on bond.

"This was an elaborate scheme to defraud the school district and insurance companies out of a lot of money," said Chief Assistant District Attorney David Pfeifer. "They used this scheme to make money off their child's special needs - that's terrible."

Fraud (see an earlier post) hurts autistic people twice. First, it takes money away from legitimate therapy. Second, it raises suspicions that may make it harder to get services.