Two Pierce County women accused of stealing more than $31,000 from the state through false Medicaid claims pleaded not guilty Monday to multiple felony charges.
Diana Esterly, 58, and Shawn Gronau, 27, were released on their own recognizance pending trial. Esterly is Gronau’s aunt.
Esterly is charged with three counts of first-degree theft. State investigators contend she charged the state for services she never provided to three developmentally disabled adults. She’s accused of illegally collecting $19,000.
Gronau is charged with two counts of first-degree theft and four counts of making false statements to Medicaid officials. Investigators contend she charged the state for three hours of work for each hour of services she provided to the same people. She’s accused of illegally collecting about $12,000.
Gronau allegedly told state investigators, “I honestly thought that I was able to claim all three kids per hour,” according to a news release issued by the state Attorney General’s Office today.
Rules indicate that payments are per hour, not per recipient, agency officials said.