There's A Whole Ton Of Cases That Might Be Affected By The Allegedly Fraudulent Expert

Last month we reported on the arrest of Matthew Leddy, a psychologist working for the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County. His arrest, for alleged Medicaid fraud and theft, caught our attention because he evaluated defendants in two criminal cases we wrote about last year.

It turns out that Leddy did a lot more work than that, evaluating close to 1,000 defendants during his two and a half years working for MHMRA, according to documents obtained by Hair Balls. Furthermore, he evaluated kids for Montgomery County Child Protective Services, according to Johana Scot, an advocate with the Parent Guidance Center. She's worked on cases involving Leddy.

"What the psychological [evaluation] says is like God talking in CPS cases," Scot tells Hair Balls. "If the state is bringing fraud charges against him, it's the state's responsibility to go back and see if he did the right things for these families."

One case Scot worked on involved a four-year-old girl that Leddy determined was bipolar and schizophrenic, according to Scot, and the state wanted to terminate the mother's rights to the girl. After Scot intervened, the woman got custody of her daughter.

"If I hadn't shown the lawyers how bunk [the evaluation] was, it could've had a bad outcome," Scot says.

Since Leddy's arrest, it's been unclear if any of the alleged crimes happened while he was working for Harris County. According to MHMRA documents, however, Leddy was hired by the agency in April 2007, seven months after the last crime allegedly took place. (He is currently on administrative leave, without pay, according to the documents.) Leddy did the work for CPS before his employment with MHMRA. The Attorney General's office -- the agency prosecuting the case -- won't comment because the case is ongoing, and a representative from MHMRA has not been available either.

It's also unclear how the arrest will affect the 961 criminal cases -- 473 in 2008 alone -- Leddy worked on in Harris County or the CPS cases from Montgomery County. Even if something could be done, Scot says, "Most of my clients don't have the money to hire an attorney."

Leddy's attorney, Philip Hilder, was not available for comment.

Update: Hilder, despite traveling in Europe right now, got back to us and answered a few questions. He anticipates Leddy's case going to trial early next year, and after it's resolved, Hilder said Leddy plans to return to his position at MHMRA. He didn't know if any of the fraud charges stem from cases that Leddy worked for CPS.

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