- Associated Press - Monday, December 8, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A woman who pleaded guilty to defrauding Medicaid recipients has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by a state judge for failing to repay the stolen funds.

The Clarion-Ledger reports (https://on.thec-l.com/1w6KlQv ) that Gina Palasini was given the maximum sentence Monday by Circuit Court Judge Lester Williamson for the crime of felony false pretense involving more than $200,000 in stolen funds.

His decision came one year after Palasini pleaded guilty to the charge as part of a deal that would wipe clean her record if she repaid the two elderly couples she had swindled while employed as their Medicaid consultant.

Palasini was ordered to make three payments, with the last one due Monday. She missed her July payment and when she did pay it the $100,000 check bounced.

Palasini faces similar charges in Pike and Sunflower counties and is under federal investigation for wire and mail fraud.

Palasini insisted throughout the hearing on Monday that she can reimburse her former clients if she’s just given another chance.

“You said, ‘Please judge, give me a chance. I can make restitution,’” Williamson recalled of the December 2013 hearing. “And I did. And I’m not sure I made the right choice.”

Palasini told the judge the reason her $100,000 check bounced on July 1 was because her business partner failed to pay her the $242,000 she was owed.

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