For Immediate Release - March 29, 2012

Three Brockton Residents Arraigned for Allegedly Defrauding $107,000 from the State Medicaid Program

Suspects Arraigned on Charges of Medicaid Fraud, Larceny and Conspiracy

BROCKTON - Three Brockton residents have been arraigned in connection with making claims of payments for personal care services that were not actually provided, causing an estimated overpayment of about $107,000 in MassHealth funds, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

“We allege that these defendants charged the state Medicaid program for care and services they never provided or received,” AG Coakley said. “Our office is committed to holding accountable those who take advantage of the Medicaid program, which many people rely on for critical health care coverage.”

Jennifer Massaro, age 38, and Tiberio Massaro, age 50, were both arraigned yesterday in Plymouth Superior Court on one count each of Medicaid fraud and larceny over $250 by false pretenses as well as conspiracy (Jennifer, one count and Tiberio, two counts). Both defendants pleaded not guilty.

Superior Court Judge Frank Gaziano ordered that Jennifer Massaro not participate in any program that receives MassHealth funds and that Tiberio Massaro hire a surrogate with no involvement in the case, hire new Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) also with no involvement in the case and be reevaluated to determine how many hours of PCA services he should receive.  

On March 17, a third defendant in the case, Maria Gomes, age 46, was arrested and subsequently arraigned March 19 on one charge each of Medicaid fraud, larceny over $250 by false pretenses, and conspiracy in Plymouth Superior Court. Gomes pleaded not guilty at the arraignment and bail was set at $5,000 with conditions that Gomes surrender her passport and not participate in any program that receives MassHealth funds.

The Commonwealth’s Medicaid program, MassHealth, funds the Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program allowing members with chronic or long term disabilities to live independently. PCAs help with daily living activities and members receiving the services act as the PCA’s employer. The PCA is responsible for assisting with daily living activities such as taking medications, dressing, undressing, going to the bathroom and bathing. In cases where the member needs assistance to manage the PCA program or is determined unable to manage the PCA program, the member is required to find a surrogate to help with the program management.

According to authorities, between April 21, 2003 and November 3, 2010, Tiberio Massaro, as the Medicaid member, and Gomes the PCA, submitted time sheets to MassHealth. Authorities allege that the time sheets indicated significantly more hours of service than actually performed and that their submission of the fraudulent time sheets caused an overpayment of approximately $54,756 in MassHealth funds.

Authorities further allege that Tiberio engaged in the same scheme with Jennifer Massaro, his sister-in-law and another PCA for him, between February 18, 2007 and May 13, 2010.  Authorities estimate that their submission of the fraudulent time sheets caused an additional $51,800 overpayment in MassHealth funds.

A Plymouth County Grand Jury returned indictments against Gomes, Jennifer Massaro and Tiberio Massaro on March 16, 2012.

These charges are allegations and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Assistant Attorney General Evelyn Y. Tang of Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Medicaid Fraud Division is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by Investigator Michael Russo, also of the Medicaid Fraud Division. The Massachusetts State Police, the State Auditor’s Bureau of Special Investigations, and Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General assisted with the investigation.

##########

Follow us on Twitter – View our Photos – Visit our Website