For Immediate Release - October 23, 2009

Russell Woman Pleads Guilty to Falsely Billing MassHealth Over $57,000 for Personal Care Attendant Services

SPRINGFIELD - Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announces that a Russell woman pled guilty yesterday in Hampden Superior Court in connection with allegations that she overbilled the state's Medicaid program, MassHealth, over $57,000 for Personal Care Attendant (PCA) services she did not receive. Lynn M. Patten, age 38, pled guilty to charges of Medicaid False Claims (4 counts), Larceny over $250 (4 counts), Distribution of a Class B Substance (2 counts), Uttering, and Forgery. Following the change of plea, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Kinder sentenced Patten to one year in the House of Correction for the Medicaid False Claims, Uttering, and Forgery charges. Judge Kinder also sentenced Patten to five years of probation on the Larceny over $250, and one year of probation on the Distribution of a Class B substance charges, and ordered her to pay $57,000 in restitution.

In November 2005, the Attorney General's Office began an investigation after the matter was referred by the Stavros Center for Independent Living Personal Care Attendant Program (Stavros Center). Investigators discovered that during the period from November 2003 through November 2007, Patten submitted approximately 80 false claims to MassHealth by submitting fraudulent timesheets to the Stavros Center, located in Amherst. Authorities found that Patten paid four different PCAs, with either cash or prescription medications, then signed and submitted false timesheets claiming that these PCAs worked over 35 hours per week assisting Patten with her daily living needs. Investigators discovered that not only did the PCAs work less than all of the hours documented on the falsified timesheets, but that Patten also kept for herself almost all of the Medicaid money that was supposed to be paid to the PCAs. Authorities determined that in the case of one of the PCAs, Patten continued to falsify PCA timesheets and received Medicaid money for over one year after the PCA stopped working for her. As a result of this scheme, Patten received over $57,000 from MassHealth.

On February 26, 2009, a Hampden County Grand Jury returned indictments against Patten. She was arraigned on the charges on March 30, 2009. Yesterday, Patten entered a change of plea in Hampden Superior Court and was sentenced.

Superior Court Judge Kinder also ordered that Patten adhere to the following conditions as part of her probation:

  • Undergo drug treatment and be drug and alcohol free,
  • Undergo random drug and alcohol testing, and
  • Patten cannot partake in any PCA or home health aide program

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Toby Unger and Michael Ahearn, and was investigated by Investigators Janine Queenin and Mike Russo, all of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Medicaid Fraud Division, with assistance from Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General's Office and MassHealth employees.

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