May 22, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services


South Portland psychologist pleads guilty in fraud case

A licensed psychologist from South Portland pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to committing health care fraud.

Carole Orem-Hough, 55, who provided counseling from her business, Casco Bay Psychotherapy, from September 2008 to September 2011, admitted to double-billing patients' insurance companies for counseling sessions that never happened, according to court records.

Orem-Hough defrauded Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim and OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions for more than $69,000 in false claims for nearly 50 patients, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In some cases, she submitted claims indicating that she had provided counseling to patients for two days per week when the patients' files indicated only one day, according to court records.

She is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 27.

She faces as much as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the FBI after a patient noticed and reported billing discrepancies in a statement explaining medical benefits from the patient's health insurance company.


Lake Region voters address $27.9 million school budget

Residents of the four towns in the Lake Region School District voted Tuesday on the $27.9 million school budget.

The proposed budget for 2013-14 is up almost 7 percent over the current budget, although the amount that taxpayers would be responsible for is up 5.7 percent, said Business Manager Sherrie Small.

Small could not provide details about the proposed budget's effect on the tax rates in Bridgton, Casco, Naples or Sebago.

Driving up the budget is the potential shift in retirement costs from the state to the school district, as proposed by Gov. Paul LePage.

The cost to Lake Region would be $357,000, Small said.

Also, the district budgeted $500,000 for bond interest payments, but will be reimbursed for that cost by the federal government, Small said.


Man arrested on 2 warrants following unrelated standoff

A 90-minute standoff ended Monday when a man who had refused to leave a trailer surrendered to York County sheriff's deputies.

The sheriff's office said the incident began early Monday afternoon when a man and a friend went to the Pines Trailer Park on Old Alfred Road to pick up the man's daughter.

The man, who wasn't identified, shares custody of the 7-year-old with his former girlfriend, who lives in the trailer park.

The former girlfriend refused to allow the man to take his daughter, the sheriff's office said, and an argument began.

The woman's current boyfriend and another man who lives in the trailer ordered the father to leave and the father's friend saw a gun tucked in the waistband of one of the men who lives in the trailer.

The father and his friend left and called the sheriff's office.

Deputies said four adults live in the trailer, along with a 2-year-old and the 7-year-old.

After about a half-hour, the mother of the 7-year-old and the woman's boyfriend left the trailer, but the other couple and the two children remained inside and the adults refused to leave, deputies said.

About an hour later, the man who allegedly had the gun came out.

Deputies arrested Ryan Forrest, 26, of Arundel on two outstanding warrants for failure to pay fines on two separate burglary and theft charges.

The woman and the two children, unharmed, came out of the trailer a few minutes later.

Deputies said they found a BB pistol in the trailer.

Forrest posted bail and was released from York County Jail on Monday night.


Suspect in stabbing freed after victim takes the Fifth

A Lewiston man who faced as much as 30 years in prison for allegedly stabbing his friend in the chest with a barbecue fork was freed after the victim refused to testify against him.

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