Feb 14, 2020 2:00 AM

Kan. woman admits getting paid to care for man who was in jail

Posted Feb 14, 2020 2:00 AM
Gretta Smith
Gretta Smith

WICHITA, KAN. (AP) — A Kansas woman has pleaded guilty to defrauding Medicaid by claiming she was caring for a man when he was in jail.

The Kansas attorney general's office said in a news release that 52-year-old Gretta Elaine Smith of Wichita entered the guilty plea Tuesday in Sedgwick County District Court.

The release said an investigation found that she fraudulently collected nearly $2,800 by claimed to be providing in-home personal care to 65-year-old Joe Ross Mitchell last year when was incarcerated on unrelated charges.

The release said Smith put at least some of the money and possibly all of it in Mitchell’s jail commissary account, where he spent it on discretionary items. He entered a guilty plea in the Medicaid fraud case in January.

Both of them are scheduled to be sentenced next month.

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Feb 14, 2020 2:00 AM
Ex-Kan. prison lab instructor wants sex crime conviction thrown out
Tomas Co photo Texas County

TOPEKA, KAN. (AP) — A former prison dental instructor who was found guilty earlier this month of one count of unlawful sexual relations with an inmate is asking a judge to throw out the conviction.

Tomas Co was convicted on one charge and found not guilty of five other charges alleging he abused female inmates working in the dental lab at the Topeka Correctional Facility.

The conviction was for a woman who said Co touched the inside of her knee and thigh.

In a motion filed Friday, Co's attorney, Chris Joseph, argued that type of touching doesn’t constitute “lewd” touching under state law. The motion also asks Shawnee County District Court Judge Cheryl Rios to acquit Co based on insufficient evidence, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Joseph said he also plans to seek probation for Co, rather than the 31 to 136 months of prison time he is facing.

District Attorney Mike Kagay said his office would file arguments in response to the defense motion.

Inmates in the dental lab complained for five years about alleged sexual harassment and unwanted touching by Co, who was dismissed in December 2018.