For Immediate Release - November 26, 2013

Two Brockton Residents Plead Guilty to Defrauding $107,000 From State’s Medicaid Program

Defendants Charged with Medicaid Fraud and Larceny; Ordered to Pay Restitution

BROCKTON – Two Brockton residents have pleaded guilty to making claims of payments for personal care services that were not actually provided, causing an overpayment of about $107,000 in funds from the state’s Medicaid Program (MassHealth), Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

Jennifer Massaro, age 40, and Maria Gomes, age 48, pleaded guilty in Plymouth Superior Court today to charges of Medicaid Fraud and Larceny over $250 by False Pretenses (1 count each).

“These defendants engaged in a scheme that charged MassHealth thousands of dollars for care that was never provided,” AG Coakley said. “Our office is committed to uncovering fraud in the Medicaid system which provides health insurance for our most vulnerable residents.”

After the plea was entered, Superior Court Judge Renee Dupuis sentenced Jennifer Massaro and Gomes to probation for five years each. Conditions of the probation are that both defendants no longer work in the Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program. Jennifer Massaro was ordered to pay more than $51,800 in restitution. Gomes was ordered to pay more than $54,700. The third defendant, Tiberio Massaro, age 51, pleaded guilty to charges in July.

According to authorities, between April 21, 2003 and November 3, 2010, PCA Gomes submitted fraudulent time sheets indicating a significant number of hours that she did not actually perform. In total, more than $54,000 was fraudulently billed to MassHealth.

Authorities further allege that between February 18, 2007 and May 13, 2010, Jennifer Massaro, sister-in-law of Tiberio Massaro, the MassHealth member receiving the PCA services, submitted fraudulent time sheets that caused an additional $51,800 overpayment in MassHealth funds.

A Plymouth County Grand Jury returned indictments against all three defendants on March 16, 2012. Tiberio and Jennifer Massaro were arraigned on March 28, 2012. Maria Gomes was arraigned on March 19, 2012.

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.

Assistant Attorney General George Zachos and Evelyn Y. Tang of Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Medicaid Fraud Division handled this 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 the Boston office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General assisted with the investigation.

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