For Immediate Release - May 03, 2011

West Springfield Woman Pleads Guilty, Sentenced in Connection with Stealing Over $130,000 From Medicaid

SPRINGFIELD - A West Springfield woman has been sentenced after pleading guilty to defrauding the Massachusetts Medicaid Program (MassHealth) of over $130,000 by billing the state for personal care attendant services that she did not receive, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced today.

On February 24, 2011, Gina Campanini, age 52, pled guilty in Hampden Superior Court to the charges of Medicaid False Claims (8 counts) and Larceny over $250 (8 counts). On April 29, 2011, Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis sentenced Campanini to two years in the House of Correction, with the sentence suspended for a probationary period of 12 years. Campanini was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $139,161.18. Judge Velis also ordered that a surrogate handle certain PCA (personal care attendant) management tasks for Campanini. Campanini must also notify the Department of Probation if she receives any cash gift that exceeds $50 or if there is a change in her financial situation.

An investigation by the Attorney General's office began after the matter was referred by the Stavros Center for Independent Living (Stavros Center), a Fiscal Intermediary responsible for administration of the Personal Care Attendant Program. Campanini was approved to receive assistance under the MassHealth PCA program, which is a benefit MassHealth provides to its members with chronic or long-term disabilities. Investigators from the AG's Medicaid Fraud Division discovered that Campanini submitted timesheets identifying her mother, who passed away in 1993, as a PCA for a four year period. Investigators discovered that Campanini's bank records showed that most of the checks written to her mother were in fact deposited into Campanini's personal bank account. Campanini also submitted timesheets from 2006 to 2009 for hours PCAs did not work. Campanini would pay her PCAs for the hours that they worked and would keep the remaining money for herself.

On September 15, 2010, a Hampden County Grand Jury returned indictments against Campanini. She was arraigned in Hampden Superior Court on September 29, 2010, and released on personal recognizance. On February 24, 2011, Campanini pled guilty to all charges and on April 29, 2011, she was sentenced.

Assistant Attorney General George Zachos, of AG Coakley's Medicaid Fraud Division, prosecuted this case. The case was investigated by Investigator Mike Russo with assistance from Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG's Office and the Massachusetts State Police Bureau of Special Investigations.