In Hammond, firefighters were called another abandoned home fire this morning. Chief Jeff Smith says they received the call at three this morning and spent about an hour and a half at the scene, located in the 800 block of State Street, one block from Sunday's abandoned house fire on Sibley Street, which was two blocks from another vacant house fire on April 1st. Chief Smith says this time though there was power at the two-story home. The fire is believed to have originated in an enclosed wooden back porch area, and when crews arrived the back of the home was engulfed in flames. Chief Smith says this is the sixth fire in the last week, and their inspection department is investigating the fire, which at this time is being considered suspicious, and asks anyone in that area to report any unusual activity to report it.
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Dr. Michael David Goodwin, 63, an orthodontist who practiced in Amarillo, Texas, and Crown Point, Indiana, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson to 50 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1,810,960 in restitution, following his guilty plea in December 2012 to one count of health care fraud related to the Texas Medicaid program. In addition, Goodwin must forfeit $1,558,911, which are the gross proceeds traceable to his offense, as well as more than $244,000 the government seized in May and July 2011 from his JP Morgan Chase accounts. Judge Robinson ordered that he surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on April 29, 2013. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to documents filed in the case, from January 2008 through March 2011, Goodwin devised a scheme to defraud the Texas Medicaid program by billing the program at least $2,626,125 for services he claimed he provided, when in fact, as he well knew, some of the services were not medically necessary, or dental assistants provided those services when no dentist or orthodontist was present to supervise, and even when present, did not directly supervise or provide any services.
Goodwin practiced orthodontic dentistry approximately two weeks each month at Goodwin Orthodontics in Amarillo and approximately two weeks each month at his Indiana office. In order to maximize the number of Medicaid patients seen, on numerous occasions, Goodwin had his employees schedule more than 100 patients per day and intentionally schedule large numbers of Medicaid patients for days when Goodwin was scheduled to be out of town. To accommodate the large volume of patients, Goodwin directed dental assistants to perform impermissible acts, including comprehensive examinations, diagnoses and treatment planning for Medicaid patients when he knew that only licensed dentists were permitted to perform those acts.
Goodwin devised a generic treatment guideline for dental assistants to follow in treating Medicaid beneficiaries that included dental assistants making treatment decisions at most appointments, without Goodwin examining the patients; confirming or revising the diagnoses; or confirming or revising the treatment plans. Goodwin also caused his billing staff to falsely and fraudulent state on Medicaid claims that he was the performing provider for all services that had been impermissibly delegated to and performed by dental assistants.
In April 2009, Goodwin hired substitute general dentists to create the appearance of direct supervision of dental assistants when he was away from the office. These substitute dentists were not enrolled Medicaid orthodontic providers. These substitutes did not provide services to Medicaid beneficiaries, did not directly supervise the dental assistants who provided the services, and were not always present in the office for orthodontic procedures. Again, Goodwin caused his billing staff to falsely and fraudulently state on Medicaid claims that he was the performing provider for all services performed when he was out of town and dental assistants provided those services when a substitute dentist was present to supervise, but did not directly supervise or provide any services.
Goodwin also instructed his dental assistants to falsely and fraudulently indicate in the patient records that an “adjustment” was performed on every visit, except for the initial consult, when no such adjustment had been provided and when he knew this violated Medicaid Rules.
The case was investigated by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of Office of the Texas Attorney General and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy Drake and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Sally Helmer were in charge of the prosecution, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Kozub handled the forfeiture.
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A semi driver lost part of his load this afternoon when he braked to avoid another semi causing all travel lanes west bound on I-80 just west of Burr
Street to be closed.
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Brian White revealed that at approximately 1:28p.m., a 2006 Volvo semi pulling a covered flat bed, driven by Philip Johnson, 50 of
Haviland, Ohio, was west bound on I-80 in the left center lane when another semi pulled out in front of him from the right center lane. This caused Johnson to brake
sharply which caused his load of 46,641 pounds of aluminum sheeting to shift and slide forward. Johnson’s load came loose and approximately ¼ of the aluminum was
strewn across all west bound travel lanes.
Johnson was not injured and no other vehicles hit the aluminum. Traffic was able to get by on both shoulders until approximately 2:30 p.m. when the three left lanes
were reopened. All lanes were reopened at 3:00 p.m. The semi was owned by J. Trans Incorporated out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Johnson was cited for an expired medical card.
Assisting: Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division Trooper Tim Grayson and Indiana Department of Transportation Hoosier Helpers
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Preliminary investigation by Trooper Lawrence McFarrin revealed that a 2009 Mitsubishi, driven by Alfonso Luna Junior, 26 of Michigan City, was east bound on I-94 near the 27 mile marker (this is one mile east of the Chesterton exit), when Luna began changing lanes from the middle to the left lane. Luna’s Mitsubishi struck the right rear of a 2005 Dodge Caravan, driven by Victor Lopez, 53 of Valparaiso. This caused Luna to lose control and hit the concrete median barrier. The Mitsubishi then ricocheted off the barrier while spinning out of control back into the eastbound travel lanes. Luna’s vehicle then hit a 2006 GMC Denali, driven by James Golden, 27 of Kalamazoo, Michigan, who was in the middle lane.
The Mitsubishi came to a stop partially in the right lane. Due to the collisions, Luna’s lights were not working and the Mitsubishi was struck in the rear by a 2001 Chevrolet, driven by Tina Mulinaro, 49 of Valparaiso.
Luna was taken to Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Michigan City with complaint of back pain. Mulinaro was taken to Porter Regional Hospital in Valparaiso with complaint of body pain and possible broken ribs. Golden complained of pain to his left knee and refused medical treatment. Lopez was not injured.
Alcohol or drugs were not considered a factor. Luna was cited for Following too Closely and Mulinaro was cited for False/Fictitious Registration.
(Photo and article provided by Indiana State Police, Lowell post)
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The backup on westbound Borman (I-80/94) as seen from the INDOT traffic cam at Broadway.
(photo from INDOT)
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Tallian says cost of expanding Medicaid for Indiana is fully paid for by the federal government, covers 400-thousand Hoosiers, and would result in 30-thousand jobs projected would be created. Governor Pence is currently seeking federal approval to implement the Healthy Indiana Plan, instead of the Affordable Care Act, but Tallian says several provisions are in direct conflict with it.
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Published reports say a Hammond man, and a member of the Hutaree militia group based out of Michigan, along with another member, are suing three FBI agents and a state trooper, saying their constitutional rights were violated in a 2010 raid on their homes. Thomas Piatek, of Hammond, and a Manchester man reportedly filed the federal lawsuit last month, and are seeking at least 25-thousand dollars in damages for each for the lawsuit's 16 counts. The pair were part of group of Hutaree Militia members accused of plotting to kill law enforcement with guns and bombs, but the case was thrown out of court due to lack of evidence.
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(Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Marshals Service)
The U.S. Marshals Service, Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force, is seeking information regarding 34 year old Orlando Maurice Mitchell, who was last known to reside in the 57-hundred block of Erie Street, in Hammond. Mitchell is wanted by the Lake County Sheriff's Department on a felony charge of dealing marijuana, and is wanted by Jacksonville, Florida, authorities for trafficking in stolen property and probation violation. Orlando Maurice Mitchell, this week's “fugitive of the week”, is described as a black male, five-foot-nine-inches tall, with black hair, and brown eyes.
Anyone with information on Mitchell's whereabouts may contact task force investigators by calling toll-free (888) 805-6119 or by texting “capture” to Tip411 (847411). All tipsters will remain anonymous.
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(Photo Courtesy of the Indiana State Police Lowell Post)
Indiana State Police Lowell Post is welcoming six news troopers to their district. Public Information Officer Ann Wojas says Zach Beaver, Brandon Bohling, Nick Daly, Rogelio Escutia, Eric Kocinski, and Jason Madison graduated from recruit school just before Christmas, and received their patrol cars on Monday. Troopers Daly and Escutia are assigned to work Porter and LaPorte Counties, while Troopers Beaver, Bohling, Kocinski, and Madison have been assigned to southern Lake, Jasper, and Newton Counties.
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(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
Authorities now say there may be a second person of interest regarding the death of 76 year old Mary Austgen of St. John. The Times reports investigators say a suspect caught on surveillance cameras with the victim inside the parking garage at the Majestic Star Casino, where the victim was later found dead in her vehicle, was also captured on camera getting into the passenger side of a black vehicle at the casino. According to the article, it remains unknown at this time if the victim knew the suspect, as still photos show her getting into the her vehicle with man, described as wearing a black jacket, a black Harley-Davidson hat with an orange flame, black sunglasses, and holding a black backpack. Anyone with information is asked to contact Gary or Griffith Police.
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A crash this morning on eastbound I-94 in Porter County, west of the weigh station, reportedly has the center and outside lanes blocked due to a crash. Authorities reported the incident, possibly involving two-vehicles occurred around 5:30 this morning. No further information is available at this time.
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The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority is moving ahead on a public-private partnership plan they hope will bring in at least 100-million dollars for airport development. The board today voted six-to-one to the idea of seeking private investors by this August, according to the proposed timetable. A joint city/airport committee will seek out the proposals. On June 15th, the Gary Airport control tower is among 149 towers across the country slated to close due to sequester cuts. The closure date, which was originally later this month (April 21), was extended by the Federal Aviation Administration last Friday.
In East Chicago, the first of a series of public meetings is scheduled tonight (Mon April 8) on a proposed City University Campus – what would be the city's first community college. The facility would be at the site of the former Eugene Field Elementary School. Other town hall meetings are coming up this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to get public input.
TOWN HALL MEETINGS
MON., APRIL 8, 2013
@ 5:00 PM
WED., APRIL 10, 2013
@ 5:00 PM
THUR., APRIL 11, 2013
@ 5:00 PM
FRI., APRIL 12, 2013
@ 5:00 PM
The death of a Gary man whose body was found at 37th Avenue and Tyler Street in Gary Sunday night has been ruled a homicide. The Lake County Coroners office says 40-year-old Pierre Dennis suffered a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene just before 11 pm. Gary Police Public Information Officer Corporal Gabrielle King says a concerned citizen driving past the alley saw what appeared to be someone in the alley and dialed 911. When police responded, they found Dennis unresponsive, authorities say. Gary Police and the Lake County Crime Lab are investigating, and anyone with information is asked to contact Gary Police\ and ask for Corporal James Nielsen.
The city of Portage is beginning the process of creating a Highway 20 Corridor Plan between the Interstate 94 viaduct and Salt Creek Bridge... looking at streetscape, signage, economic development and other elements... and the community is encouraged to attend a vision workshop tonight [Apr 8]. Portage Mayor James Snyder told us during a recent Region Newsmakers interview that some work is already underway. Tonight's interactive workshop starting at 7 at Woodland Park will allow attendees to map out their concerns, and talk about what they like now and what they'd like to change.
To hear more about the Corridor Plan from Mayor James Snyder, visit Region Newsmakers for our interview here at our website.
In Griffith, town officials say the 400 block of North Cline Avenue will be closed to traffic today [Monday April 8] through the end of June (Jun 30) for storm sewer installation.
Truck detour route will be Wiggs Avenue to the West. Northbound truck traffic should utilize West Main St. to Wiggs, proceed North on Wiggs to 45th Ave., East on 45th to Cline.
Southbound truck traffic should utilize west 45th to Wiggs, proceed south on Wiggs to Main St., east on Main St. to Cline Ave. Questions can be directed to Griffith Public Works at (219) 924-3838.
- Governor's Statement on Death of Margaret Thatcher
- Abandoned House Fire in Hammond Sunday Morning
- 11th Annual HS Challenge Continues This Week
- 11 Million Dollar Expansion for Hanson Logistics in Hobart
- Public Forum in Hobart Thursday at Community Center
- Reminder: Tax Filing Deadline is Next Monday
- Mother and Son In Fatal LaPorte Co Crash Identified
- Man Calls 911to Report Himself as a Drunk Driver
- Chesterton Man Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft
- Authorities Investigating Gary Man Found Dead in Alley
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