Former Medicaid administrator in Nebraska pleads guilty to taking thousands from Medicaid, his father

A former Medicaid administrator for the State of Nebraska has pleaded guilty to taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from Medicaid and his father.

Craig A. Barnett pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court of Nebraska last week to two counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud. The charges stemmed from allegations that he spent money meant for his father and the nursing home where the elderly man lived.

Officials said that from 2010 to 2016, Barnett stole $294,396 from his father through Social Security checks, a pension plan, grant payments and an investment fund, plus an additional $84,000 from Medicaid.

Barnett’s attorney, Sean Conway, declined to comment Tuesday.

Barnett had worked for 11 years as a Medicaid audit and financial support administrator in the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Federal prosecutors said that in February 2010, Barnett was given power of attorney for his 85-year-old father, Dean Barnett, due to Dean Barnett’s deteriorating physical and mental health.

Craig Barnett would deposit his father’s checks into a bank account he shared with his wife for his “own personal use and enjoyment rather than to pay for his father’s medical and everyday living expenses,” according to court documents.

Dean Barnett received financial assistance from the Broadcasters Foundation of America, which provides grants to news industry retirees. In 2012, Craig Barnett had lunch with the president of the organization and requested an address change to send checks to his Lincoln home instead of to Dean. The request was approved.

Dean Barnett moved into a nursing home in 2014, but by 2016, the nursing home was owed $118,000 in payments that Craig Barnett had not made, according to court documents.

Craig Barnett faces sentencing in April.