Sandisfield Nurse Sentenced in Connection with Defrauding $25,000 From MassHealth While at Horseracing Competitions
PITTSFIELD – A nurse from Sandisfield has been sentenced in connection with a scheme to bill the state’s Medicaid program more than $25,000 while at horse racing competitions, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
Robin Annecharico, 49, pleaded guilty last month in Berkshire Superior Court to charges of Larceny Over $250 (6 counts), Medicaid False Claims (6 counts), Obstruction of Justice (2 counts), and False Statements under Penalty of Perjury (1 count). She also fabricated treatment and medication records for her patients to obstruct the ongoing criminal investigation by the AG’s Office and the Berkshire County Grand Jury.
On Thursday, Superior Court Judge John Agostini sentenced Annecharico to 18 months in the House of Correction, suspended for a probationary period of five years. Judge Agostini also ordered that Annecharico pay restitution to MassHealth in the amount of $23,126.
“This defendant cheated the system, defrauded taxpayer dollars, and obstructed my office’s investigation by providing false documents,” AG Coakley said. "We are pleased that this resolution will recover money for the Commonwealth and put an end to these deceptive practices.”
“Together, with the Attorney General, we are focused on preventing fraud and improving the public’s trust in government,” State Auditor Suzanne Bump said. “This sentencing sends a message. If you attempt to take advantage of public benefit programs, you will be held accountable.”
Annecharico is a registered nurse, who, until 2011, provided independent nursing services to Medicaid-eligible patients in Massachusetts. AG Coakley’s Medicaid Fraud Division began an investigation into Annecharico’s billing practices following a referral from the Bureau of Special Investigations in 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.
The AG’s investigation revealed that Annecharico repeatedly billed MassHealth for nursing care for three children in Berkshire County while in fact attending or participating in horse racing competitions in Mississippi, Virginia, and Georgia. Annecharico also billed MassHealth for services that she did not provide on major holidays, and submitted many of her bills to MassHealth under penalties of perjury.
A Berkshire County Grand Jury returned indictments against Annecharico in December 2012, and Annecharico was arraigned in Pittsfield in January 2013. Annecharico pleaded guilty to all charges on Aug. 29, 2013.
The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Kriss Basil and Investigator Rachael Cooper, both of the AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division. Ashley Cinelli of the AG’s Victim/Witness Services Division, Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, and the Bureau of Special Investigations of the Office of the State Auditor also assisted in this case.