Klepinger still working at center

Posted: Sunday, March 12, 2000

Despite his conviction on charges of Medicaid fraud, Kenneth Klepinger continues to operate his two Southeast hearing centers, including one in Juneau.

The Beltone Hearing Center in the Nugget Mall Shopping Center is open for business.

``They were in there (Wednesday),'' said Bud Jaeger, property manager of the Nugget Mall.

Jaeger said that Denise and Kenneth Klepinger, owners of the business, were not behind on their mall rent.

The Klepingers told investigator Michelle Nolan of the Alaska Medicaid Fraud Control Unit that they did not have sufficient assets to pay back the $141,636.20 which they gained through fraud. Court documents say that between October 1997 and January 2000, Klepinger falsified 100 percent of the hearing aid claims he filed with Medicaid and obtained that sum ``by false or fraudulent pretense, representation, or promise.''

The city assessor's office said that the 1999 assessed value of the Klepinger home at 660 Alta Court was $237,700. Documents were seized at the house on Jan. 26.

``Part of the search warrant was executed at the house, and it's a very nice house,'' said Nolan. ``But he says he has a big mortgage on it.''

As a result of the charges, Ken Klepinger has lost his license to practice as a hearing aid consultant. However, his wife also has a license and it is possible he is acting as her employee, Nolan said.

When the state's charges were made public last week, the Klepingers were vacationing in Mexico and could not be reached for comment. They did not return calls to their Juneau business and home last week. A call to the Beltone Hearing Aid Center in Ketchikan, which they also own, was not returned.

The Beltone Center in Ketchikan, which usually advertises under the name ``Southeast Hearing Center,'' continues to advertise in the Ketchikan Daily News, said Lisa Dale, the paper's sales/advertising manager. The location's regular ad ran March 8 and is scheduled to repeat March 15, Dale said.

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