The owner of an in-home care company for elderly and disabled individuals pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail in connection with billing the state’s Medicaid program for services that were not provided, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today, Oct. 30.
During a hearing today in Middlesex Superior Court, Adlife Healthcare, LLC (Adlife) was ordered to pay $3.3 million in restitution.
“This defendant defrauded MassHealth for millions of dollars, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for home care services that were never provided,” Coakley said in a press release. “Our office will continue to prioritize investigations of fraud against the Commonwealth and to ensure individuals are held criminally responsible.”
Sharon Richardson, 58, of Framingham, pleaded guilty last Wednesday in Middlesex Superior Court on charges of False Claims (6 counts), Larceny Over $250 (2 counts), and Conspiracy (2 counts). Adlife also pleaded guilty to charges of False Claims (6 counts), and Larceny Over $250 (2 counts).
After the pleas were entered, Judge Merita A. Hopkins sentenced Richardson to two-and-a-half years in the House of Correction with two years to serve and the balance suspended with five years of probation after her release. As conditions of her probation, Judge Hopkins ordered that Richardson attend counseling, be prohibited from contracting with state and federal health care programs, and pay $50,000 in restitution.
Adlife was a Group Adult Foster Care (GAFC) provider to MassHealth with locations in Framingham, West Springfield, Dorchester and Hyannis. The GAFC program provides at-home personal care services to MassHealth recipients.
The AG’s Office began an investigation into Sharon Richardson and Adlife following a referral from the Board of Registration in Nursing. The AG’s investigation revealed that Adlife routinely billed MassHealth for services not rendered, including billing for deceased individuals and individuals who never received services.
The AG’s investigation also found that Richardson falsified records submitted to MassHealth, and that her daughter-in-law Lisa Richardson-Miles and Kali Geddes, a social worker, falsified and destroyed internal records. These actions were taken to conceal Adlife’s failure to provide the services for which it billed and to disguise its clients’ ineligibility to receive services.
Richardson-Miles, 38, of Framingham, who performed billing for Adlife, pleaded guilty last Wednesday in Middlesex Superior Court to charges of False Claims (2 counts), Larceny Over $250 (1 count), and Conspiracy (2 counts), for her role in the fraudulent billing scheme. She was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. As conditions of her probation, Richardson-Miles has been ordered to attend an educational program overseen by Middlesex probation and serve 96 hours of community service.
Kali Geddes, 31, of Brighton, admitted to sufficient facts for a jury to convict her of one count of violating the Medicaid False Claims Act by directing Adlife employees to alter records to conceal Adlife’s failure to provide services. Geddes’ case will be continued without a finding for a probationary period of three years. She will pay a $7,500 fine.
A Special Statewide Grand Jury returned indictments against all the defendants in September 2011.
The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Joshua Orr and was investigated by Investigator Lisa Bailey, both of the AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division. Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, Examiners from AG Coakley’s Computer Forensics Lab, Special Agents from the Boston Office of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, and the Boston Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigations also assisted in this case.