ABI gets involved in unlicensed counselor case - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

ABI gets involved in unlicensed counselor case

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The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is looking into the case of an unlicensed counselor who was involved in child custody cases with the Department of Human Resources. The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is looking into the case of an unlicensed counselor who was involved in child custody cases with the Department of Human Resources.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is looking into the case of an unlicensed counselor who was involved in child custody cases with the Department of Human Resources. 

The counselor, Angel Gieske, didn't have credentials, but still collected thousands of taxpayer dollars. 

Gieske, claiming to be a clinical behavioral specialist, handed DHR several documents including professional licenses, degrees and even her transcript from Southern Illinois University where she claimed she received her doctorate. But the university had no record of her. 

DHR Spokesperson Barry Spear said they discovered the documents were forged and ceased using Gieske's services to counsel children. 

However, it was after Gieske collected more than $864,000 in Medicaid funds through her company, Turning Leaf Counseling and Educating Services.

From 2006 up until November 2013, Gieske worked for DHR in six counties, collecting the most in Lauderdale and Colbert Counties. 

There's no way to determine just how much she pocketed working privately with families while posing as a licensed and certified counselor. 

"It certainly is wrong and I don't disagree that the money should be back with the tax payers. Whether that is something that can be done or not, that's yet to be determined," said Spear. 

DHR sent letters to each district attorney asking them to prosecute Gieske.

In part, the letters stated, "Ms. Gieske knowingly secured referrals and payment from the department and Medicaid by presentation of these false credentials. The Department of Human Resources has worked with Medicaid and The Alabama Board of Psychology to stop this unlawful practice of psychology and to prevent further payment based upon these fraudulent credentials and to prevent harm and havoc on children's lives and their families. These private citizens are at risk."

Colbert County's district attorney has picked up the case and turned information over to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation. The ABI will look into matters of the case, return their findings, and the next move will be up to the district attorney.

As for Gieske slipping past DHR with forged documents, the organization admits no one double checked her credentials before approving her to intervene in cases where terminating parental rights was involved and where she conducted drug tests on parents.

Several parents have two things in common - they've had their families torn apart and they've all crossed Gieske's path.

When asked if DHR will check potential vendors' credentials to prevent this from happening in the future, they responded with a statement saying, "As always, when our policies are questioned we review them. This policy is currently under review."

Medicaid's fraud department is currently reviewing facts behind this case and will determine what their next step will be.

WAFF will continue to follow this story and let you know if any charges are filed against Gieske.

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