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MADISON Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen announced today that two La Crosse County men have been convicted in La Crosse County Circuit Court of public assistance fraud.
"These crimes affect Wisconsin taxpayers who fund funeral assistance to eligible individuals." said Attorney General Van Hollen. "When people steal from public assistance funds, they are stealing from those who have been identified as in most need and from the taxpaying citizens who fund this assistance." Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen went on.
Van Hollen said that Darrell Dickinson of La Crosse, appeared before Judge Todd Bjerke and pleaded guilty to two counts of felony public assistance fraud. As part of the plea agreement Dickinson has paid $55,000 in restitution.
Gary Sebranek, of La Crosse, also appeared before Judge Todd Bjerke and entered a guilty plea to one count of misdemeanor public assistance fraud.
According to the Department of Justice's criminal complaints, Dickinson is the owner of Dickinson Family Funeral Home of La Crosse. Within his scope of employment, Dickinson was submitting false claim information related to funeral costs, cemetery costs and availability of funds to the Wisconsin Funeral and Cemetery Aids Program (WFCAP) in order to acquire public assistance money. WFCAP is meant to provide financial assistance for the funerals and burials of deceased Medicaid recipients, and others, who perish under circumstances where there are no personal funds available for funeral or cemetery expenses. Gary Sebranek was a funeral director working for Dickinson and was also making false claims to WFCAP, though to a lesser extent.
Dickinson will be sentenced on August 22. Sebranek will be sentenced on August 25.
The Attorney General extends his appreciation to the City of La Crosse Police Department for its assistance in the execution of the search warrant during the investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Eric Defort.