A Kenyan couple living in the United States of America were on Thursday arrested over allegations of engaging in a Medicaid fraud scheme that involved exploiting homeless people.
John Wachira, 52, and Joanne Wachira, 62, of Chelmsford, Massachusetts were charged at Middlesex Superior Court with Medicaid false claims, larceny worth more than Sh120,000 ($1,200) and Medicaid kickbacks.
The two however pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against them.
The Wachiras, who operate Petra Health Care, a home healthcare company that provides in-home services to patients, are said to have recruited at least 10 people to live in their house for free but required them to be MassHealth members.
The recruitment happened in the period between July 2015 and December 2017, according to the statement from the Attorney General’s office.
Those living in the house were allegedly required to sign up to receive Petra’s home healthcare services as well as false timesheets showing they were receiving certain services such as bathing and medication reminders, the AG office added.
The couple and Petra went ahead to bill MassHealth for those services even though they were not provided. As a result of the fraudulent scheme, John and Joanne obtained Sh55 million ($543,542.19) from MassHealth.
This morning, we arrested a couple that we believe exploited homeless people as part of a scheme to illegally bill MassHealth for over $540,000. This is disgraceful and wrong – and that’s why we took action to hold them accountable. https://t.co/2A2XjvUpnR
— Maura Healey (@MassAGO) December 19, 2019
According to CBS Boston, this is not the first time the Wachira’s are being investigated by the Attorney General’s Office.
Last year, the couple was ordered to pay more than Sh20 million ($200,000) in restitution and penalties to resolve allegations that they neglected to pay their staff for overtime and travel.
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