For Immediate Release - August 21, 2012

Franklin Man Pleads Guilty to Using Dead Woman’s Name for Medicaid Fraud Scheme

Ordered to Pay More Than $10,000 in Restitution and Sentenced to Two Years of Probation

BOSTON – A Franklin man has pleaded guilty to defrauding the state’s Medicaid program of more than $10,000 by claiming that he provided personal care attendant services to a chronically ill woman for three weeks after she passed away, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

Ralph Gasbarro, 57, of Franklin, pled guilty Monday in Orleans District Court to charges of Medicaid False Claims and Larceny by False Pretenses. District Court Judge Christopher D. Welch sentenced Gasbarro to two years of probation and ordered Gasbarro to pay more than $10,000 in restitution to the state’s Medicaid program, MassHealth.

“It’s bad enough to steal from a system that provides crucial care for thousands of residents, but to take advantage of MassHealth by using the name of a woman who passed away is unconscionable,” AG Coakley said. “We hope that the sentencing today shows that this type of behavior is absolutely unacceptable and we will continue to protect taxpayer money for this vital service.”

The matter was referred to the AG’s Office by the State Auditor’s Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI). The AG’s investigation revealed that a MassHealth member was approved to receive assistance under the program’s Personal Care Attendant (PCA) program which is a benefit provided to members with chronic or long-term disabilities.

“Detection and prosecution of fraud is the product of successful collaboration,” said State Auditor Suzanne Bump. “Willful abuse like this deprives people in need of resources and undermines public confidence, and we will continue to pursue it aggressively.”

The woman, who lived in Brewster, employed Gasbarro as her personal care attendant. The MassHealth member was hospitalized for a total of 28 days in the five months prior to her death.  For three weeks after the member died as well as all of the days that the member was hospitalized, Gasbarro submitted timesheets to the PCA program fraudulently claiming that he provided services.

Based on these fraudulent timesheets MassHealth made payments of over $10,000 for services that Gasbarro never provided.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Joshua Orr, with the assistance of investigators Michael Russo and Kevin Ready, all of the AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division.  Assistance was provided by investigators Monique Packer and Steve Anzalone from the Bureau of Special Investigations of the Office of the State Auditor.

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