For Immediate Release - February 24, 2010

Brookline Husband and Wife Arraigned for Allegedly Defrauding Medicaid Program of Over $130,000

BROOKLINE - Today, a Brookline couple was arraigned in Brookline District Court for allegedly concocting a scheme to defraud the Massachusetts Medicaid program-MassHealth--of over $130,000. Joseph Bruce Womack, 58, and his wife, Dinorah Hernandez Womack, 43, were charged with utilizing the identity of a California woman to submit $137,000 in false claims to the Medicaid program for personal care attendant services allegedly provided to Mr. Womack. Mr. and Mrs. Womack were each charged with Medicaid False Claims (one count), Larceny Over $250 by False Pretenses (one count), and conspiracy (two counts) charges. Mrs. Womack was also charged with Identity Fraud by Posing as Another (one count).

The Attorney General's investigation found that between January 18, 2004, and December 1, 2007, the Womack's used the identity of a woman in California to submit claims to the Medicaid program for personal care attendant services allegedly provided to Mr. Womack. Authorities allege the woman from California had never provided personal care attendant services to Mr. Womack, and that the Womack's kept the money received as payment for those claims. These alleged violations of state law and Medicaid rules and regulations resulted in Medicaid overpayments to the Womacks of over $137,000.

The MassHealth Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program helps people with long-term disabilities live at home by providing funds to hire PCAs. PCAs can help patients with any Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). To qualify to receive PCA services, an individual must have a permanent or chronic disability that impairs his or her ability to perform ADLs and Instrumental ADLs, like shopping and meal preparation, without physical assistance, must need physical assistance with two or more ADLs, and must receive a prescription for personal care services from a physician or nurse practitioner.

The Womacks were arraigned in Brookline District Court today and entered pleas of not guilty. They were released on personal recognizance. They are scheduled to appear in court on March 29 for a pre-trial conference.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Melissa Celli, of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Medicaid Fraud Division. The case was investigated by Investigator Meaghan Fogaren, of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Medicaid Fraud Division in collaboration with Investigators James Panorese, Gary DePalma and Monique Packer of State Auditor A. Joseph DeNucci's Bureau of Special Investigations.

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