Missouri group home owner, wife sentenced in fraud case

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 | 6:18 p.m. CDT; updated 11:54 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 13, 2011

SPRINGFIELD — The former owner of a southwest Missouri group — where 11 people died in a 2006 fire — will serve five years in prison without the possibility of parole on a federal health care fraud conviction.

Robert J. DuPont Jr., 66, was sentenced Wednesday by a federal judge in Springfield. His 75-year-old wife, LaVerne DuPont, was sentenced to five years of probation.

The DuPonts were each convicted in September 2010 of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud through their Joplin River of Life Ministries Inc. Robert DuPont had previously spent time in federal prison and been banned from Medicaid reimbursement because of a 2002 fraud conviction.

The couple's holdings included the Anderson Guest House for the mentally ill and handicapped, where a fire in November 2006 killed 10 residents and one employee. The home later was closed.

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