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Criminal Justice

Doc Blames Alternate Personality for Medicaid Fraud

Posted Oct 2, 2012 9:01 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A New York doctor who pleaded guilty in a scheme to defraud Medicaid is blaming the crime on an alternate personality.

Dr. Diana Williamson, 56, says she wasn’t aware of the wrongdoing carried out by Nala, one of her multiple personalities, report the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.). Her lawyer, Jonathan Marks, said Williamson developed the disorder as a result of childhood sexual abuse by a Massachusetts priest. She was first diagnosed 25 years ago.

Marks claimed Williamson deserved leniency in sentencing as a result of the disorder, the stories say.

Williamson is accused of writing phony prescriptions for oxycodone pills that were purchased through Medicaid and then sold on the street. The scheme cost Medicaid $300,000, prosecutors say.

Williamson founded an AIDS clinic in Brooklyn and a medical research facility, but in recent years she worked sporadically at emergency rooms and clinics. A defense psychiatrist said she meets the legal standards for insanity, according to the Wall Street Journal account.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska of Manhattan delayed sentencing Williamson to allow the Bureau of Prisons to respond to a claim that the defendant also has other serious medical issues—pulmonary hypertension and life-threatening allergic asthma—that can’t be treated in prison.

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