Abuse counselor gets probation on fraud, drug convictions

Tom Kertscher

June 29, 2010

A drug and alcohol abuse counselor who defrauded a government program and illegally possessed prescription painkillers has been sentenced to three years of probation.

Dennis K. Shirk, 63, of Franklin had pleaded guilty to three felonies - theft, fraudulent writings and the drug charge; 15 other felonies were dismissed.

Shirk was head of the Greenfield office of Parkview Counseling Associates when the charges were filed in November.

Shirk defrauded the nonprofit Impact program, which is funded by Milwaukee County, by submitting claims for payment for counseling sessions that never occurred, according to a criminal complaint. He would have patients sign post-dated forms and then submit the forms for payment, even though the clients did not participate in counseling on those days.

Shirk also illegally possessed the painkillers Percodan, Percocet and OxyContin, according to the charges filed against him.

As part of the sentence given by Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Dennis Cimpl, Shirk also was ordered to pay $4,822 in restitution to the county.

To read the Journal Sentinel's Watchdog reports on prescription drug abuse, go to www.JSOnline.com/prescription.


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