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Police & Fire

Special-Needs/Weed CEO Is Accused Of Stealing $50,000 From Taxpayers

justice, courtroom
justice, courtroom Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons: Jeffrey Beall

A marijuana entrepreneur who owns a Connecticut vocational center for people with special needs is facing fraud charges.

Karen Gaston, 39, of East Granby, was charged in Connecticut on Tuesday, Sept. 22 with larceny in the first degree by defrauding a public community, health insurance fraud, and criminal attempt to commit larceny in the first degree by defrauding a public community, according to Connecticut’s Division of Criminal Justice.

Gaston is the owner of Elegant Clinical Corporation in East Windsor, a nonprofit that seeks to provide vocational education to people with special needs, according to Gaston’s LinkedIn. 

She is also the owner of Diamond Shine LNK, a Massachusetts marijuana LLC. Three days before her arrest, Diamond Shine was approved by the Cannabis Control Commission to open a recreational marijuana shop in Whately.

Gaston is accused of stealing about $52,600 from Medicaid through billing for services that clients at Elegant never received, the state said.

Law enforcement became suspicious of Gaston following a 2018 audit of Elegant’s Medicaid billing. The audit revealed a 57 percent error-rate in which Medicaid was billed for services that were never provided, the Division of Criminal Justice said.

Upon further investigation, auditors found conflicting claims of where patients were being treated and that most of the visits billed to Elegant were supported by false or blank documents, the state said.

Gaston is facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

In addition to being CEO of Diamond Shine and Elegant Clinical Corporation, Gaston is also the head of Ruby Electronic Docs, a service for adults with intellectual development and mental health issues, according to her LinkedIn page.

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