Special needs school officials accused of $4.6M in Medicaid fraud freed from jail

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The owner and the administrator of an Orlando special needs school who are accused of defrauding the government were freed from the Orange County Jail Monday.

Maria Navarro, the owner of the Angels Center for Autism, and Judith Benech, a school administrator, are accused of filing $4.6 million in fraudulent Medicaid claims.

The women, who bonded out of jail Monday afternoon, are accused of using the money to buy three homes and more than a dozen cars.

Investigators said the pair billed Medicaid for eight-hour one-on-one therapy sessions with students, but officials said they only had enough staffing to provide two-hour sessions.

To be freed from jail, a judge ordered that the women first had to prove that the funds they were paying their bail with weren’t fraudulently obtained.