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Fraud charges filed in investigation of autism services

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Fraud charges have been filed against a woman who worked for Centria Healthcare, the largest provider of autism therapy in Michigan.

The attorney general’s office announced charges Friday against Christine Leonard of Swartz Creek, who is accused of billing Medicaid for services that weren’t performed. Attorney General Bill Schuette calls it “fraud, pure and simple.”

Records show Leonard appeared in court Friday in East Lansing and asked for a court-appointed lawyer. She didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Schuette’s office says a separate investigation of Centria remains opens. The company has denied wrongdoing and is suing former employees who apparently have talked to investigators.

The state had offered an $8 million economic-development grant to Centria but suspended it earlier this year.

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