The superintendent of an Indiana school district was arrested and faces fraud charges for allegedly using her son’s name to help a sick student receive medical treatment.
Casey Smitherman, the superintendent of Elwood Community School Corporation, was charged with insurance fraud, identity deception, insurance application fraud and official misconduct, court documents show.
Police in Elwood, Indiana, said they received a tip that Smitherman took a 15-year-old student to urgent care on Jan. 9 after the teenager missed school because he had a sore throat, according to a probable cause affidavit.
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Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings told NBC News that Smitherman took the student to one urgent care location but was denied because she is not his guardian. That’s when Smitherman took the student to St. Vincent Med in Elwood and used her insurance to have the student evaluated under her son’s name, Cummings said.
Smitherman told police that she was worried about the student when he did not show up for school and she went by his house and saw that he was ill, according to the affidavit. She said after leaving urgent care she went to a CVS Pharmacy to have a prescription filled for Amoxicillin, again using her insurance and son’s name.
Smitherman said that she did not contact child welfare authorities because she feared the student would be placed in a foster home. Smitherman also said that she has helped the student in the past by buying clothes for him and cleaning his home, the affidavit states.
Cummings said the student does not live at the home with his parents, and is under the care of a relative.
Authorities contacted the student who told them that he knew it was “bad” to be in possession of someone else’s prescription so he tore the label off the pill bottle.
Smitherman was arrested and released after posting a $500 cash bond, according to court records. A court date has not yet been set, but Smitherman will most likely end up paying a fine and possibly doing community service, Cummings said.
Elwood Community School Corporation said in a statement Thursday that Smitherman made an "unfortunate mistake" and she has their support.
"We understand that it was out of concern for this child’s welfare. We know she understands what she did was wrong, but she continues to have our support," the district said in a statement to The Herald Bulletin.
Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.