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Minnesota psychologist admits to defrauding $550K from Mdewakanton Sioux

The psychologist lied about providing services to at least 29 members of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, resulting in more than half a million dollars in losses to the tribe.

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ST. PAUL — A Minnesota psychologist has pleaded guilty in federal court to fraudulently billing more than half a million dollars to a tribe’s insurance account for services he admitted to never providing.

Charles Jorenby, 57, of Chanhassen, pleaded guilty in a St. Paul federal courtroom to one count of health care fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota announced Thursday, Dec. 1.

Prosecutors say that between January 2013 and February 2020, Jorenby executed a scheme to defraud the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) and their insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) by filing false claims.

Practicing at Life Dynamics in Prior Lake, Minnesota, Jorenby submitted fraudulent bills to BCBS for at least 29 SMSC members for services he never provided. As a result, prosecutors said SMSC, who funds BCBS accounts for tribal members, suffered a loss of at least $550,000.

The tribal members who Jorenby claimed to have provided services were unaware their names and birthdates were used as part of the scheme.

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As part of Jorenby’s guilty plea, he also admitted to a second instance of insurance fraud, this time involving State Farm. Jorenby acknowledged that in 2017, after a fire at his office, he knowingly overstated an income loss as a result of the fire, which included monies associated with the scheme to defraud SMSC.

State Farm disbursed nearly $105,000 to Jorenby in the fire settlement, which prosecutors said represented a product of his fraudulent billing practices.

An investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau resulted in an Oct. 3 indictment by a federal grand jury. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 27, 2023.

Jorenby faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison, and could be ordered to pay any restitution and fines to compensate for losses incurred by SMSC, BCBS and State Farm.

Jorenby is no longer listed on the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice's credential search.

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A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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