November 7, 2005

Kansas couple convicted of abusing mentally ill

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Reuters) - A Kansas couple who ran a
psychotherapy practice were convicted on Monday of holding
mentally ill people as slaves and forcing them to perform sex
acts on videotape while billing Medicare nearly $1 million for

Arlan Kaufman, 69, was convicted of 33 criminal counts,
including charges of forced labor, involuntary servitude,
health care fraud, mail fraud and obstruction of a federal

His wife, Linda Kaufman, 62, was found guilty of all
charges with the exception of one charge of making a false

The judge in the case ordered their bonds revoked and
remanded them to jail.

During the trial in the U.S. District Court in Wichita,
prosecutors said the Kaufmans billed relatives and insurers for
therapy, rent, utilities and food for patients who were forced
to engage in manual labor in the nude on a farm the couple
owned and to pose for videotapes in a variety of sexual acts.

Patients were physically injured or restrained if they
resisted, authorities charged.

Authorities said the abuse began in 1985 and involved at
least 14 mentally ill people.

The Kaufmans submitted almost $1 million in claims to
Medicare from 1991 through 2000 and were paid $216,906,
authorities said. The couple face more than 200 years in
prison. No date has yet been set for sentencing.