BALDERA WILL TESTIFY AGAINST GAUZES
Local area doctor, arrested on medicare fraud and forged prescription charges in 2016, along with husband and wife team he jointly owned medical clinic in Louisa; has all charges dropped against him by the state.
IN SEPARATE SURPRISE TWIST, AFTER BEING CLEARED OF ALL CHARGES, BALDERA TO TESTIFY AGAINST REMAINING PAIR IN SCHEDULED LATE SUMMER TRIAL
APRIL 14, 2017 - written by WADE QUEEN
In a sudden surprise move, the KY Commonwealth Attorney's Office has dropped all criminal charges against a well know area doctor, thus leading him to be cleared of all accused Medicaid fraud and forged prescriptions he was arrested for.
In August 2016, Dr. Baldera, 64, and a resident of Ona, West Virginia; was arrested and was to go on trial later this year via an investigation by Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear's office in Frankfort. Baldera was facing up to 20 years on charges with four Class D felonies, including two counts of Medicaid fraud, one count of forgery of a prescription and two counts related to unlawful prescribing of controlled substances.
Also arrested were Kevin Gauze and Janice Gauze, who are still facing charges and are scheduled for trial in August 2017. Kevin Gauze faces up to 20 years, charged with five Class D felonies, including two counts of Medicaid fraud, one count of forgery of a prescription, two counts related to unlawful prescribing controlled substances and one count related to unauthorized procurement of controlled substances. Janice Gauze faces up to five years for one Class D felony related to unauthorized procurement of controlled substances.
All three were joint partners in the Tri-State Family Medical Center in Louisa, which first opened up in the latter part of 2000s, but has been closed since all three were arrested in August 2016.
Even after criminal charges dropped and his name cleared, Baldera stated that the Tri-State Medical Center clinic will remain closed.
Baldera had been connected to the Tri-State Family Medical Center though his primary job is at a hospital in Huntington, West Virginia. Baldera also works at a Putnam County, West Virginia business.
Baldera says the medical center in Louisa was run by Kevin Gauze, a nurse practitioner, and his wife Janice, a nurse, but that he had not been there since mid-2015.
While Dr. Baldera owned a piece of the medical practice, his role was to answer questions that Kevin might have about medical issues, that in the end, at the most, it meant a couple phone calls a week from a friend Baldera had known more than 20 years.
Dr. Baldera claims the first time he heard of the criminal investigation, he had just been put in handcuffs when he was taken into custody last August..He said that he did not realize the fraud accusation was going on, literally, even though Baldera had known the Gauzes for decades.
Baldera said he hasn't talked with Kevin or Janice Gauze since August when they were arrested.
Dr. Baldera said it has been a long fight to clear his name, and that the whole situation came as a complete surprise and that it has been a long eight months where he felt like he was being treated as if he was guilty until proven innocent.
Now that all of his criminal, civil, and medical billing concerns have been cleared, Dr. Baldera can go back to work at his other jobs. And he said he has kept a good attitude spirit for himself.
Dr. Baldera says he could have retired. But didn't want to, not with his good name at stake, and that he is ready to be returning to practice medicine, Baldera said he does not worry anymore about his reputation going forward, but the long delay had made him question himself at various times during his lengthy personal saga.
Dr Baldera would not talk about the criminal case against Kevin and Janice Gauze at this time, but he has agreed to testify if they are brought to trial.
With the criminal charges against Kevin and Janice Gauze remaining in place, the couple are scheduled to go to trial in August.
Because it is still an ongoing investigation, the Kentucky Attorney General's office, which is prosecuting the Gauzes' case, could not comment any further.