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York County man pleads guilty to falsifying educational credentials, medicaid fraud

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Wednesday that a York County man pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to falsifying his educational credentials and not disclosing his full criminal history before he took a job working with children with disabilities.

Kenneth Banks, 69, of West Cottage Pace, York, was arrested on May 4, 2018 and charged with Medicaid fraud, forgery, tampering with public records and other related charges. An investigation was initiated by the Office of Attorney General after receiving a referral from the defendant’s employer, T.W. Ponessa, a behavioral health agency. Banks is charged with Medicaid fraud for intentionally submitting false information on his application for obtaining a position funded by Medicaid.

Banks was employed by Ponessa from October 3-23, 2017 as a Mobile Therapist and Behavior Specialist Consultant, which required the defendant to work with children who had intellectual disabilities and autism-related conditions. These positions require the individual to hold a Master’s degree in the mental health field. The defendant was made aware of the educational requirements for the position when he applied and interviewed. The services Ponessa and its employees provide to clients are funded using Pennsylvania Medicaid monies.

“Children with intellectual disabilities deserve excellent treatment from qualified professionals,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “This defendant lied about his credentials to get a job for which he was not qualified and Pennsylvania’s children deserve better. Thanks to the diligence and cooperation of the professionals at T.W. Ponessa, my Office was able to quickly stop this fraudulent activity.”

Banks was hired on October 3, 2017 pending verification of his credentials, two-year and four-year degrees, and criminal history. The defendant included one item on his criminal history, “29 years ago misuse of a credit cards”, but failed to include other criminal charges from his past related to theft and stolen property. During the course of the investigation, it was revealed that Banks had an extensive criminal history and falsified the degrees and transcripts he claimed to have obtained. Banks was terminated from Ponessa on October 23, 2017.

This defendant will be sentenced on March 11, 2019 in the York County Court of Common Pleas. This case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Janice Martino-Gottshall.

Source: Office of Attorney General

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