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Prosecutors: Autistic Boy's Parents Swindled District, Insurers Out of $400K

AP

(CBS/AP) A San Francisco couple have been charged with bilking the school district and insurers out of about $400,000 by falsely billing them for treatment of their autistic son.

Jonathan S. Dickstein and his wife, Barclay J. Lynn, were scheduled for arraignment Thursday on 30 felony counts of fraud, theft and conspiracy.

They were arrested Wednesday and released on bail.

California school districts are required to provide or compensate parents for home education of severely disabled children. But prosecutors say Dickstein and his wife created Puzzle Pieces, a phony home education firm, then for three years double-billed the San Francisco district and private insurers for its services.

Dickstein's attorney, Garrick Lew, says the couple is devoted to their son but took their efforts too far.

The San Francisco Chronicle spoke to Gentle Blythe, spokeswoman for the district. She said it was school officials who told prosecutors last year.

Blythe told the paper, "The parents weren't allowing the district personnel to talk to the service providers."

Blythe said the district then uncovered the fact that Puzzle Pieces was not a licensed provider, and in fact had been started by Lynn in 2006.

The Chronicle also reports that, until this year, Dickstein was a partner at the internationally recognized law firm of Morrison & Foerster. Dickstein is a graduate of Stanford and Harvard Law School.