- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A former state health department accountant pleaded guilty to felony theft by fraud and malfeasance in office Thursday, admitting that she stole more than $1 million from Louisiana’s Medicaid program in what the state Attorney General’s Office said was a scheme that footed the bill for a serious gambling addiction.

Deborah Crowder Loper, 47, entered the plea in state court in Baton Rouge.

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office said Loper used much of the money at Baton Rouge area casinos.

Under a plea agreement detailed in a news release from Caldwell’s office, Loper is set to receive a 10-year prison sentence, with five years suspended, and five years of active supervised probation. She has also agreed to pay a little more than $1 million in restitution to the State of Louisiana.

“Ms. Loper stole more than a million dollars of taxpayer money meant for vital health care services for our most vulnerable Medicaid recipients,” Caldwell said in the news release.

Formal sentencing is set for Dec. 4 before 19th Judicial District Court Judge Richard “Chip” Moore.

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