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Former State Employee Charged with 54 Counts of Fraud


CONTACT: Tami Torres or Nina Bottcher

TALLAHASSEE – A former state employee was arrested Saturday on charges that he filed 54 fraudulent travel claims while working as an inspector, said Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher.

Karl Michael Pries, 46, a former Fire Protection Specialist with the Agency for Health Care Administration, surrendered around noon on Saturday following an investigation by the Department of Financial Services' Office of Fiscal Integrity, the Agency for Health Care Administration's Office of Inspector General and the State Attorney's Office of the Second Judicial Circuit. An AHCA supervisor initiated the investigation after receiving a tip that Pries had not been staying in the hotels he claimed on travel reimbursement requests.

"Misuse of the people's money and trust cannot be tolerated," said Gallagher, who as Chief Financial Officer oversees the Office of Fiscal Integrity. This office is responsible for investigating allegations of fraud and abuse involving state property and money.

Pries, of Crawfordville, allegedly collected more than $8,700 on 54 fraudulent travel claims submitted to the State of Florida between March 13, 2000, and Aug. 31, 2002. Investigators said the claims contained phony hotel receipts and false mileage statements. AHCA hired Pries in April 1999, and Pries left in November 2002.

"The agency is disappointed by these events," said AHCA Secretary Dr. Rhonda Medows. "But I am pleased in the diligence of an AHCA employee in bringing concerns to the attention of AHCA management and for the cooperation among our agency, the Department of Financial Services and the State Attorney's office in addressing this matter."
To report fraud, waste and abuse of state resources, call 1-800-GET-LEAN (1-800-438-5326). The line is available 24 hours a day.