PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) -- A Portsmouth elementary school teacher will spend six months under house arrest after pleading guilty to fraud.
Casheba Cannon, who last worked at James Hurst Elementary School, was recognized as co-teacher of the year in 2017.
Court documents said Cannon was hired in 2012 by Just By 5, Inc., a provider of mental health services. A large population of its clients were Medicaid recipients.
In 2013, court papers say Cannon scammed Medicaid for more than $50,000. $15,000 of that went to her.
As an employee at Just By 5 Inc., she was required to document when, where, and how long she was with clients. She falsified all of those things, going as far as to forge signatures. In one instance, spelling a client's name wrong.
Another time, she documented she worked with a client while she was actually at her full-time job teaching.
The facts in the documents paint the crime Cannon pled guilty to, but those who know her say it's not the complete picture of her character and work she's put in as an educator.
"I understand that it's factual information, what happened, but I just don't want her reputation and legacy as an awesome, dynamite teacher that gets awesome results with some of the toughest kids who gets results to be taken away because of some of the mistakes she's made," said Dr. Jaclyn Walker, who went to Norfolk State with Cannon and eventually became her co-worker.
Velvet Smith, who also has known Cannon for several years said, "I also understand that everyone can make a mistake so I wasn't devastated. I reached out to her to offer words of encouragement."
On top of the house arrest, the court is also ordering Cannon to pay back $50,000 to the Department of Medical Assistance Services.
She will also be required to perform 250 hours of community service and face 4 years of probation.