Blair County counselor charged with fraud after billing fake appointments

Local News

BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A Duncansville licensed counselor is charged with Medicaid fraud, theft and tampering with public records after an investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office into suspicious billing.

Michelle Strawmier, 53, of Altoona, was arraigned on felony fraud counts along with felony charges of theft by deception and tampering with public records.

Strawmier, owner and operator of MLS Counseling, LLC, is accused of billing the state’s medical assistance program for psychotherapy sessions for patients that investigators say never happened between 2017 and 2021.

When a search warrant was executed for the business, investigators found only 12 of 38 patient files with Strawmier telling them the rest had been shredded. Investigators pointed out she was required to keep those records for five years as a licensed counselor along with the four years required by Medical Assistance.

From the 12 files seized, investigators determined Strawmier received more than $75,000 in fraudulent payments, according to the charges.

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