Sandisfield Nurse Indicted in Connection with Fraudulently Billing MassHealth
AG’s Office Alleges Defendant Stole $25,000 by Billing for Services When Actually at Horse Racing Competitions
PITTSFIELD – A Sandisfield nurse has been indicted in connection with stealing more than $25,000 from MassHealth after she allegedly fraudulently billed for the nursing care of children when she was actually at horse racing competitions, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
A Berkshire County grand jury returned indictments today against Robin Annecharico, 49, on charges of Larceny over $250 (6 counts), Medicaid False Claims (6 counts), Perjury by Written Attestation (1 count), and Obstruction (2 counts). Her arraignment has not yet been scheduled by the court.
“Fraud committed against the Medicaid program is theft from taxpayers,” AG Coakley said. “These funds are supposed to be for our most vulnerable patients, not for those looking to abuse the system. Our office is focused on recovering this money for the Commonwealth.”
“This is a great example of collaboration across government to ensure integrity in our public benefits programs, and that those who need public assistance are the ones who receive it,” State Auditor Suzanne Bump said.
According to the AG’s Office, Annecharico allegedly billed MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program, for the nursing care of three children in Housatonic while she was instead attending or participating in barrel racing competitions in Mississippi, Virginia, and Georgia. Annecharico also allegedly billed MassHealth for services on holidays when she was not working. The AG’s Office alleges that Annecharico also provided false treatment records both to investigators and the Berkshire County grand jury in response to a subpoena during AG Coakley’s investigation.
In May 2011, the AG’s Office began an investigation after receiving information from the Bureau of Special Investigations of the Office of the State Auditor suggesting that Annecharico had falsely billed for services while participating in the National Barrel Horse Association World Championships in Augusta, Georgia in 2008 and 2009.
According to investigators, in addition to the competitions in Georgia, Annecharico also falsely billed for services while she travelled to and from horse races in Mississippi in 2007 and in Virginia in 2007 and 2008. Annecharico also allegedly billed for full days of service in her patients’ home on holidays, but did not provide any services on those days. Each time that Annecharico allegedly submitted false claim forms to MassHealth for payment, she signed her bills under pains and penalties of perjury. Annecharico also allegedly fabricated detailed daily patient treatment records and medication records for each of her patients and provided these false records to investigators and to the grand jury in an alleged attempt to cover up the fraud.
Assistant Attorney General Kriss Basil is prosecuting the case as part of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division. This case was investigated by Investigator Rachael Cooper with assistance from State Police assigned to the AG’s Office, as well as the Bureau of Special Investigations of the Office of the State Auditor and the MassHealth Provider Compliance Unit.