Fraud allegations land mom, former teacher in jail

A woman who used to work in Worcester as a teacher has been accused of bilking MassHealth, the state's vehicle for distributing Medicaid benefits, of $2.7 million through a healthcare company she founded.

According to the criminal indictments against the woman, she instructed employees at her company to bill government insurance for home health services that were never signed off on by a doctor. She even allegedly told employees to sign on a physician's behalf. The indictments also described some unusual banking practices on the part of the woman, including some transfers of money to family members and other associates, including those who live overseas.

In other cases, while the woman's company had received authorization to bill for health services, she went outside the scope of that authorization by billing for a lot more hours than were authorized. The state government started investigating the woman and her company after former employees tipped the state off about business practices that concerned them.

For her part, who is originally from Kenya but moved to the area in college, the woman has pled not guilty to the charges. A judge ordered her held on either a $100,000 cash deposit or a $1 million bond and also instructed her to turn over her passports and, should she be released, report to the local probation office weekly.

Allegations of white-collar crime, particularly when the government itself is the alleged victim, are very serious and, in this case, could land a professional woman and mom in jail for a long time. It is important to remember that at this stage of the case, the woman has not had a chance to tell her side of the story, as not all suspicious or ill-advised financial transactions are illegal.

Those accused of any type of white-collar crime or fraud in connection with a government social program should strongly consider preparing a vigorous criminal defense to the charges.

Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette, "Sturbridge woman charged with $2.7M Medicaid fraud," Elaine Thompson, Oct. 11, 2017

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