West Tennessee couple charged with mental health fraud - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

West Tennessee couple charged with mental health fraud

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A federal grand jury has charged a West Tennessee couple with filing more than $720,000 worth of bogus claims for government funding for mental health services.

Sean Diaz and Brenda Williams-Diaz are charged with conspiracy and mail fraud in an indictment made public Tuesday.

They are accused of defrauding the state Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services through bogus claims from two companies, West Tennessee Habilitation and Learning Center Inc. and Tempo Ready Residential Agency.

West Tennessee Habilitation, created in 2001, had offices in Memphis and Jackson and contracted with the state to provide support services and housing for mentally handicapped adults. 

Tempo Ready Residential, a temporary staffing agency, operated with a business license in Memphis and was used, the indictment says, to mask failure to pay reported overtime to employees of West Tennessee Habilitation.

The companies received state overpayments totaling $370,000 in Jackson, the indictment says, and $350,000 in Memphis.

Each of the seven charges in the indictment carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The accused pleaded not guilty Tuesday and were released without bond to await trial set for Jan. 7.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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