- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for Sturbridge Home Health Owner Sentenced to Two-and-a-half Years in Jail for Stealing $2.5 Million From MassHealth
Worcester — The owner of a home health agency that previously had offices in Dracut and Worcester was sentenced on Friday to two-and-a-half years in jail in connection with stealing approximately $2.5 million from the state’s Medicaid Program (MassHealth), Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Worcester Superior Court Judge Robert Gordon sentenced Hellen Kiago, 48, of Sturbridge, to two-and-a-half years in the House of Correction, of which Kiago will serve 18 months, with the remaining balance suspended for a year. Kiago and her company, Lifestream Healthcare Alliance, were also ordered to pay $130,000 in fines for this conduct, with the amount to be paid back to MassHealth to be determined at a later date.
Kiago was convicted after a 10-day jury trial in Worcester Superior Court on charges of Medicaid False Claims (4 counts) and Larceny over $250 by False Pretenses (1 count). Lifestream was convicted on the same charges.
“This defendant stole millions of dollars from MassHealth, patients, and taxpayers,” said AG Healey. “Medicaid fraud puts the state’s health care resources for our most vulnerable residents at risk.”
The AG’s Office proved in court that Kiago and Lifestream billed MassHealth for services that were not authorized by physicians. Kiago was found to have personally directed employees to provide patients with hours of service beyond those deemed medically necessary by the clinician in the field. Kiago also directed employees to falsify documents to hide wrongdoing including forging physician signatures during a MassHealth audit and creating false corrective orders. In total, these schemes defrauded MassHealth of approximately $2.5 million.
Kiago was indicted in 2017, after an investigation by the AG’s Office. The AG’s Office began the investigation after receiving complaints from several former employees alleging misconduct and fraudulent billing practices.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Nita Klunder, Gregoire Ucuz, and Kaushal Rana, Investigators Christine Barker, Mirlinda Sejdiu, Johan Gonzalez, and Erica Schlain all of AG Healey’s Medicaid Fraud Division, with assistance from the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office, analysts from the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab, the AG’s E-Discovery team, Special Agents from the Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, and Victim Witness Advocate Ellen Davis of the AG’s Victim Services Division. MassHealth also provided substantial assistance during this investigation.