CANTON - Charges of Medicaid fraud against a Watertown man will be pursued by the St. Lawrence District Attorney's office - not the Jefferson County DA.
Jefferson County District Attorney Cindy F. Intschert confirmed Tuesday afternoon that her office does not have jurisdiction over the case against Norman J. Wayte II, who is accused of bilking Medicaid out of money he was paid for hours he did not work.
She has "verified" that the case has been referred to St. Lawrence District Attorney Nicole M. Duve, who could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Wayte, of 210 William St., Watertown, worked at the Watertown office of the Cerebral Palsy Association of the North Country, a Canton-based health care provider for patients who suffer from the condition that impairs the ability to control movement.
In a joint press release last week, the state's Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and Commission on Quality of Care said that during the time Mr. Wayte said he was meeting with clients and billing Medicaid for it, he actually was working at Dick's Sporting Goods in the Salmon Run Mall.
As a result, the Cerebral Palsy Association agreed to reimburse Medicaid $100,109 for services that were never provided to clients during the time Mr. Wayte was allegedly on the clock at Dick's Sporting Goods.
Bryan Jackson, a spokesman for the state's Commission on Quality of Care, said Tuesday that Mr. Wayte, a service coordinator, was paid $15,876 in wages for those hours that occurred between 2006 and 2010.
Mr. Jackson said that the agency's investigators had initially referred the case to both counties to prosecute. Investigators determined it was not a state Attorney General case because it involved wages paid locally from the agency, although it involved Medicaid money.
Saying that it was his office policy, Mr. Jackson also would not provide any information about the source of the complaint against Mr. Wayte.
Mr. Wayte's lawyer, David A. Renzi, said last week his client is innocent until proven guilty, and chided the state for alerting the media to the investigation before the matter went before the courts. He declined to comment Tuesday.
For years, Mr. Wayte has served as the chairman of the city of Watertown's Planning Board. Last week, Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said that Mr. Wayte can continue to serve as chairman, adding he is just facing accusations.
Besides serving on the Planning Board, Mr. Wayte has also been active in the community in a variety of organizations. He organized the annual Operation: Black River Cleanup Day in several city parks, volunteered for the Gov. Flower Monument Centennial Committee and was one of the founding organizers of the First Night Watertown festival on New Year's Eve.
He was also known to go out of his way in helping the disabled in his work with the Cerebral Palsy Association.
"He was involved in the things he cared about," the mayor said.