AG Balderas Secures Guilty Plea Against Counselor Accused of Defrauding State’s Medicaid Program

November 11, 2021
Contact: Jerri Mares (505) 321-4372

Las Cruces, NM–Yesterday, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced that Cathy
Chidester, who operated Drop In Counseling in Las Cruces, pled guilty to Medicaid
Fraud, Obstruction of Investigation, and Identity Theft. Ms. Chidester was accused of
fraudulently billing New Mexico’s Medicaid program for children’s counseling, when in
fact, public school records showed that the children were in class attending school
during the alleged counseling sessions. Sentencing for Ms. Chidester will be in 60 days
and she faces up to five years imprisonment in addition to payment of restitution of
more than $177,000.
“Medicaid ensures that almost half of all New Mexicans have access to healthcare. We
will vigorously apply the rule of law against individuals who steal from the vital Medicaid
safety net for families,” said Attorney General Balderas.
This case was investigated and prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General’s
Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU). MFCU receives 75 percent of its funding from the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling
$3,774,509 for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2021-22, of which $2,830,884 is federally
funded. The remaining 25 percent of the approved grant, totaling $943,625 for FY
2021-22, is funded by the State of New Mexico.

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