A superintendent at an Indiana school is being charged with fraud after she allegedly used her son’s name to seek medical treatment for a student who fell ill. Casey Smitherman, head of the Elwood Community School Corporation, is being faced with insurance fraud, insurance application fraud and identity deception. On January 9, she purportedly took a 15-year-old student to a doctor after he was absent from school due to a sore throat.
“After making sure he had eaten, I could tell he had some of the symptoms of strep throat,” Smitherman said in a Wednesday statement. “As a parent, I know how serious this illness can be if left untreated, and I took him to an emergency clinic.”
While at the doctor’s office, Smitherman checked the boy in and received a drug prescription for Amoxicillin for him under her son’s name. According to court documents, the medical visit and medicine totaled to $233.
Police received a tip regarding the doctor’s visit and followed up with Smitherman. She said she was worried about the 15-year-old and even brought him clothes and helped him clean his house in the past.
“I understand it was her desire to help a young man that was in bad shape but probably not the best example to set for young people to assume other identities and make false statements,” Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said.
She stated in her statement that prosecutors agreed to a diversion program for Smitherman, in lieu of jail time. “I know this action was wrong. In the moment, my only concern was for this child’s health,” Smitherman said.
According to Smitherman, she didn’t contact Child Protective Services because she was worried the boy would end up in foster care. However, since the incident, police have contacted to Department of Child Services to try to get him help.
“She made an unfortunate mistake, but we understand that it was out of concern for this child’s welfare,” said school board president Brent Kane. “We know she understands what she did was wrong, but she continues to have our support.”