Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ex-charity leader found not guilty on gun charge- Top News -

Ex-charity leader found not guilty on gun charge

Truman Lewis, the former head of an area youth mentoring agency accused of Medicaid fraud, was found not guilty of being a felon in possession of a handgun during a recent court hearing in Charlotte, N.C.

Lewis was head of Helping Hands Youth and Family Services, which had offices in Conway and Georgetown and is accused in court documents of improperly and excessively billing Medicaid for more than $6.2 million. The agency was shut down by federal investigators early this year.

The handgun charge stemmed from a search of Lewis’ home in Charlotte on Jan. 26 in connection with the Medicaid fraud investigation. Lewis, who has a felony drug conviction, told FBI agents during that search that he had a handgun in his bedroom. Lewis said the gun belongs to a fraternity brother, who let Lewis keep it after his home was burglarized. Lewis told investigators he did not know he legally could not possesses the firearm.

Lewis argued that investigators did not properly inform him of his Miranda rights before questioning him about Helping Hands and eventually the handgun. A jury found Lewis not guilty following a two-day trial last month.

It is not clear whether criminal charges will be brought over the alleged Medicaid fraud. Lewis told investigators that the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services has ordered Helping Hands to repay $1 million in Medicaid overpayments. Lewis said Helping Hands is reimbursing the state agency – which administers the federal Medicaid program – at the rate of $50,000 a month.

Helping Hands was supposed to provide mentoring services to school-age youth with behavior problems, such as attention-deficit disorder.

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