An Oklahoma City elementary school principal facing Medicaid fraud charges will be on paid leave until she retires at the end of the month.
Cynthia Barchue, 52, turned herself in to the Oklahoma County sheriff's office during the weekend. She and her husband are accused of filing thousands of dollars in fake claims that they counseled at-risk children.
Barchue has been the principal at Greystone Upper Elementary School, 2401 NW 115 Terrace, since 2011.
She has been charged in Oklahoma County District Court with three counts of Medicaid fraud. She's accused of fraudulently billing more than $16,000 to Medicaid.
Off since last week
She has not been to work since charges were filed against her a week ago, said Tierney Tinnin, a district spokeswoman.
Barchue will use paid leave until Jan. 31, when she plans to retire.
Her husband, Joseph Barchue, 56, is charged with one felony count and one misdemeanor count of Medicaid fraud.
He's accused of filing more than $5,000 in false claims.
He is a retired probation and parole office with the state Corrections Department.
The Barchues also are alcohol and drug counselors working through YouthCare of Oklahoma, 222 E Sheridan.
Both the Barchues and YouthCare are licensed to bill Medicaid for counseling services they provide to children.
The investigation into the Barchues began two years ago, when Oklahoma City Public Schools administrators received an anonymous letter from an employee at Heronville Elementary, where Barchue was principal at the time.
The Barchues were recruiting current and former Heronville students to receive counseling services from them, according to court documents.
District officials turned their investigation over to the attorney general. Because of the criminal investigation, district leaders couldn't take disciplinary action against Cynthia Barchue.
A third person, Michael Fenner Jr., was charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud — a felony and a misdemeanor — at the same time as the Barchues. Fenner is a pardon and parole officer.
Fenner is accused of falsely billing Medicaid for more than $3,000 in counseling sessions that investigators say never happened, according to an affidavit filed in Oklahoma County District Court last week.
Fenner also is an alcohol and drug counselor through YouthCare of Oklahoma.
CONTRIBUTING: STAFF WRITER ZEKE CAMPFIELD