Former Fresno County worker pleads not guilty to health care fraud, embezzlement

Christina Hernandez, a former Fresno County worker in the Department of Behavioral Health, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to an 11-count indictment charging her with health care fraud and embezzlement from a health-care benefits program, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Hernandez, 39, now a resident of Las Vegas, was a provider relations specialist at the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health, which is responsible for administering mental health services to Fresno County’s Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Hernandez was responsible for reviewing and approving claim forms from private mental health care providers who provided services to Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

The indictment alleges that Hernandez submitted claim forms for medical services that were never provided and that she subsequently cashed the reimbursement checks for her own benefit. The indictment also alleges that Hernandez stole reimbursement checks that the county issued to doctors for actual medical services provided. In total, it is alleged that Hernandez stole approximately $98,560 from the county department.

If convicted, Hernandez faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.