Missouri has a law that lets people steal tens of thousands of dollars but avoid criminal prosecution if they admit doing it at the right time.
Missouri’s new Medicaid program, MoHealthNet, says that a person who "discovers"—-that’s the word in the law—he or the company have taken money they were not entitled to get cannot be prosecuted as a criminal if they admit it before the theft becomes public knowledge or before the Attorney General finds out about it.
Attorney General Jay Nixon says that is a huge loophole. He says, "Bank Robbers are not allowed..to come in a year after they rob a bank…and get immunity from prosecution."
Nixon says he and his staff are working with the Department of Social Services Department to get around that provision by making sure the department gives the Attorney General an early heads-up so criminal charges can be filed before the thief "discovers" what has happened and self-reports.
But even if Nixon cannot put a thief in jail, he can get that person in court with a civil suit to make sure that person does not get to take the money and run.
Nixon says Missouri should not allow someone defrauding the government to make a phone call and escape criminal prosecution.