Doctor named in Medicaid fraud
A Honolulu doctor has been charged with dispensing painkillers for no legitimate medical purpose, resulting in the deaths of two people, according to a federal indictment.
Barry N. Odegaard was also charged in the superseding indictment Thursday with five counts of defrauding the state Medicaid program by double-billing for services rendered to Medicaid recipients.
According to the indictment, Odegaard dispensed nearly 55,000 milligrams of Oxycodone on 11 occasions and 1,400 milligrams of methadone on one occasion between May 2003 and December 2004.
The first death occurred on May 8, 2003, three days after he allegedly distributed 2,700 milligrams of Oxycodone to an unidentified individual. A second death occurred July 24, 2004, a day after he distributed 1,400 milligrams of methadone to another unidentified individual.
The indictment said Odegaard billed the state Medicaid program on five occasions for services that already had been paid for by the patient or on behalf of the patient. Four of the claims were for $84.30, and one was for $151.05.
A federal grand jury initially returned an indictment against Odegaard in March 2006.
Nominee set for consumer post
Lawrence M. Reifurth, deputy director of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs since 2003, has been nominated by Gov. Linda Lingle to succeed former Director Mark Recktenwald.
Recktenwald was nominated and confirmed earlier this month as chief judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals.
Before joining the department, Reifurth worked in the law firm of Oshima Chun Fong & Chung, Lingle's office said in a news release.
He also has previous government experience. He represented the Division of Consumer Advocacy as a deputy attorney general from 1989 until 1994, when he then served as the state's insurance commissioner. Both divisions are within the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
Reifurth is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law, the J.D. Kellogg Graduate School of Management and Marquette University.
His nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.
Lingle's said Reifurth's promotion would ensure a "seamless transition" within the department.
Valenciano nominated for court
Gov. Linda Lingle nominated former Kauai County Councilman Randal Valenciano to serve as a judge of the Kauai Circuit Court.
Valenciano was chosen from a list of six given to the governor by the Judicial Selection Commission, to fill the vacancy created with the retirement of George Masuoka at the end of 2006. He must still by confirmed by the Senate.
A prosecutor and public defender prior to his stint on the Council from 1990 to 2002, Valenciano runs a private practice and is president of the Friends of Kauai Drug Court, secretary of the Kauai Officials Association and member of the Pua Loke Community Association. He also serves as an arbitrator for the Kauai Circuit Court.
Valenciano, a graduate of Waimea High School, earned his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle and his bachelor's degree from the University of Oregon.
NOAA ships moving to Pearl
Two Hawaii-based ships in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's three-ship Hawaii fleet are now berthed at their new home port in Pearl Harbor, the agency said last week in a news release.
The NOAA ships Oscar Elton Sette and Hi'ialakai arrived at Pier F-10 on historic Ford Island this month. A third ship, the Ka'imimoana, will relocate in September.
The NOAA ships, whose mission is supporting fishery, coral reef and oceanographic research in the Pacific, were formerly home-ported at Honolulu Harbor.
Moving NOAA ships to Ford Island is the first step of a multiyear plan to consolidate most of NOAA's Hawaii offices into a new, $250 million Pacific Regional Center there. A three-story, 400,000-square-foot building will incorporate two historic airplane hangars and will house up to 500 agency and contract employees.
Police, Fire, Courts
Trio of juveniles admit burglaries
Police arrested three juveniles Thursday in connection with a burglary at the Windward YMCA and vandalism at a high school in Kailua.
Police said that on Tuesday morning, Kailua High School was vandalized and a safe was stolen from the Windward YMCA at 1200 Kailua Road.
Police interviewed parents of juveniles suspected of committing the crimes. The juveniles turned themselves in Thursday and were arrested for investigation of two counts of second-degree burglary. Police said the juveniles returned the safe.
Cuffed man bolts, then is rearrested
A handcuffed man escaped from a police officer yesterday morning after being arrested for disorderly conduct.
Police said the 29-year-old man, who was allegedly intoxicated, was being taken in a patrol car to the Queen's Medical Center for treatment after he claimed to have an asthma condition.
When he was being taken out of the car at 4:09 a.m., the man broke away and fled on foot, still handcuffed.
Police caught the suspect after a foot chase and arrested him on suspicion of second-degree escape.
Motorist accused of trying to kill duo
Police arrested a 20-year-old man who allegedly tried to run over two other men.
Police said that at about 3:20 p.m. yesterday, two men, ages 31 and 32, were driving in Kaimuki on separate mo-peds, and the suspect was driving in the opposite direction in a truck.
The suspect allegedly veered across the center line toward the victims. One victim fell off his mo-ped, while the other was struck, police said. The suspect has argued with one of the victims before, police said.
He was arrested for investigation of two counts of second-degree attempted murder.
Visitor allegedly assaults woman
Big Island police charged a 22-year-old man vacationing from Mexico with the sexual assault of a woman in Keauhou, Kona.
Police received report of an abuse Monday morning and discovered a woman was sexually assaulted, threatened, cut with a knife, beaten, choked and held against her will, police said.
An all-points bulletin was issued Monday, and Omar Angels Salazar turned himself in to police at the Kealakehe station Wednesday.
He was charged yesterday with kidnapping, second-degree assault, first-degree terroristic threatening, felony abuse of a family or household member, two counts of first-degree sexual assault and attempted first-degree sexual assault.
Salazar is being held in lieu of $52,500 bail.