A superintendent from Elwood, Indiana, is facing charges of insurance fraud after police say she used her son's name to get medical treatment for a sick student who didn't have health insurance, CBS affiliate WTTV-TV reports.
with three felonies and a misdemeanor: official misconduct, insurance fraud, insurance application fraud and identity deception. Court records show she was released on $500 bail.
"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.
Smitherman said she picked up 15-year-old student who had stayed home from school on Jan. 9 with symptoms of strep throat and took him to a medical clinic, according to a statement given to WTTV. The office refused to treat the student, so Smitherman took him to a second clinic and said the boy was her son, signing him in using her son's name. She also picked up a prescription for Amoxicillin at CVS under her son's name, according to court documents.
"As a parent, I know how serious this illness can be if left untreated, and I took him to an emergency clinic," Smitherman said in a statement. "I knew he did not have insurance, and I wanted to do all I could to help him get well." The claim for the clinic visit and the prescription totaled $233, medical records show.
Smitherman told police she was worried about the student after he didn't come to school. She said she had previously bought clothes for him and helped clean his house, according to court documents.
"I know this action was wrong. In the moment, my only concern was for this child's health," Smitherman said.
Smitherman said she didn't contact the Department of Child Services because she worried he would be placed in foster care. Police have since contacted the Department of Child Services to try to get him help.
The Elwood school board issued a statement supporting Smitherman.
"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."
Smitherman said the prosecutor in the case had agreed to allow her to enter into a diversion program.