School Superintendent Charged With Insurance Fraud After Helping Sick Student

Casey Smitherman, the superintendent of the Community School District in Elwood, Indiana, stands accused of pretending a sick student was her son in order to get him medical treatment. She was arrested and charged with four counts, including insurance fraud, before being released on $5,000 bail.

The good news is that Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings has agreed to offer Smitherman a diversion agreement. If approved by a judge, the charges will be dismissed — as long as Smitherman isn’t arrested again within the year. 

But the bad news is that she was arrested for carrying out an act of kindness to help out one of her students.

Smitherman was understandably concerned when a 15-year-old whom she knew well didn’t show up for school on January 9. According to Bryan Williams, Smitherman’s lawyer, the teen lives with an elderly relative who does not drive; Smitherman and her husband have supported him before with food, clothes and Christmas gifts.

When Smitherman contacted the boy, he let her know that he was sick with a sore throat, so she went to visit him.

“After making sure he had eaten, I could tell he had some of the symptoms of strep throat,” Smitherman said in a statement obtained by CNN affiliate WXIN. “As a parent, I know how serious this illness can be if left untreated, and I took him to an emergency clinic.”

When Smitherman was denied service there because she wasn’t the child’s guardian, she took him to another clinic and checked him in using her son’s name and her insurance. Presumably the teen did not have insurance of his own.

The student was prescribed Amoxicillin, so Smitherman picked up the prescription and dropped him off at home. The total claim for the medication came to $233.

That would have been the end of the story, except that police received an anonymous tip and followed up with the teen’s guardian.

When contacted by Elwood police, Smitherman turned herself in voluntarily; after all, she had been acting out of the best of motives. On January 23, she was booked on felony charges of insurance fraud, identity deception, official misconduct and another misdemeanor count of insurance fraud.

The diversion program offered by prosecutor Cummings means that criminal charges against the superintendent will be dropped after a year, although she will be required to take classes or perform community service.

Smitherman should never have been arrested in the first place. At least Elwood Community Schools Board President Brent Kane agrees, issuing this statement:

She made an unfortunate mistake, but we understand that it was out of concern for this child’s welfare. We know she understands what she did was wrong, but she continues to have our support.

The Elwood police should spend their time investigating real crimes, not picking on someone whose concern was for the health of one of her students.

Here’s an excerpt from the statement Smitherman issued:

The Elwood community has been welcoming since I started this position and I am so grateful for your support. I am committed to this community and our students and I regret if this action has undermined your trust in me. From the beginning my ultimate goal has been to provide the best environment for Elwood students’ growth physically, mentally and academically, and I remain focused on that purpose.

Does this person sound like a criminal? 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

56 comments

Gino C
Gino C26 days ago

Thank you

SEND
Paula A
Past Member about a month ago

Thanks for posting

SEND
Caitlin L
Past Member about a month ago

can't be right

SEND
Sabrina Degasperi
Sabrina D1 months ago

This person doesn't sound to me like a criminal.

SEND
Thomas M
Thomas M1 months ago

thank you for posting

SEND
Kayla Cote
Kayla Cote1 months ago

Seriously? Punishment for caring? Thanks for sharing.

SEND
Mia B
Melisa B1 months ago

thank you for posting

SEND
Melanie St. Germaine

Thank you for sharing!

SEND
Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E2 months ago

RK R
Why are you here? ALWAYS a Debbie downer !!

SEND
Loredana V
Loredana V2 months ago

In modern times, good people who help are rare. They must not be punished!

SEND