VALPARAISO — After having spent the last several days behind bars, Justyn Arch was given the chance Wednesday morning to bond out of jail while awaiting trial on a charge of bilking Medicaid out of $365,527.
The 32-year-old made an initial court appearance from the jail via a video conferencing system on the single felony count of Medicaid fraud.
Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer entered pleas of not guilty on Arch's behalf and set bond at $2,500 cash.
A trial was set for March 18, with preliminary hearings Dec. 14 and Jan. 25.
Arch was represented in court by defense attorney Bob Harper and the short hearing attracted a group of onlookers.
Arch was working as an office manager at the Crown Point location of Arch Complete Family Dentistry when he repeatedly billed the government assistance program for a type of surgery never performed by the dental practice, according to an investigator with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Indiana attorney general's office.
The dental practice was based in Chesterton and briefly had an office in Knox.
The billings were filed on behalf of 171 Medicaid recipients between Feb. 17, 2015, and Sept. 13, 2017, according to court documents.
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They involve osseous surgery, which is "rarely performed by general practitioners," and is a particularly invasive procedure "performed to bone and overlying tissues of the teeth to gain access to the diseased root and bone area, to remove bacteria and infected gums, and to reduce pocketing."
The charging document includes a list of patients, who said they never had the surgery done or were not even patients of Arch Complete Family Dentistry.
A dentist, who used to work for Arch Complete Family Dentistry, reportedly told investigators that he never performed the surgery in question or saw it performed at the practice. The dentist said he was aware of the fraudulent claims submitted by Arch claiming he provided services he did not, which led to his decision to leave the practice, according to charging information.
Other employees also said they never saw the osseous surgery performed at the practice.
Arch had been in the same courtroom nearly three years earlier when he testified he had nothing to do with the Jan. 16, 2015, shooting death of 23-year-old Melinda Lindsey in the same house he now lives along Ind. 149 in Portage Township.
Arch had owned the house at the time of the murder and testified during the trial of Melinda's husband Steven Lindsey, who was found guilty and sentenced in April 2016 to 55 years behind bars.