- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for Transportation Company Owner Pleads Guilty to Multi-Million Dollar Medicaid Fraud Scheme
Worcester — The owner of a transportation company has pleaded guilty to charges in connection with fraudulently billing millions in false claims to the state’s Medicaid Program (MassHealth), Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Michael Davini, age 59, of Rindge, N.H., pleaded guilty today in Worcester Superior Court to charges of Larceny Over $250 (2 counts), Medicaid False Claims (2 counts), and Kickbacks (1 count). His company, Rite Way LLC, pleaded guilty to Medicaid False Claims (2 counts). Davini will be sentenced in Worcester Superior Court on November 4.
“This defendant stole millions from MassHealth and took health care resources away from those who needed them,” said AG Healey. “We will not allow bad actors to take advantage of patients and taxpayers for personal profit.”
The AG’s Office began an investigation after the matter was referred by MassHealth. Rite Way provided transportation services throughout the state that were covered by MassHealth.
Between April 2011 and September 2015, Davini fraudulently and repeatedly billed MassHealth for transportation services that were never provided, including claims for individuals who were hospitalized in inpatient settings, no longer used the company’s services, or were deceased on the claimed dates of service. Investigators also found that Rite Way provided non-emergency wheelchair van transportation provided to ambulatory individuals and paid cash kickbacks to MassHealth members to recruit others to use its transportation services. Davini was indicted with others in September 2016 in connection with these false claims.
“In the fall of 2013, MassHealth identified allegations of fraudulent billing by transportation provider Rite Way LLC and referred the company to the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Division, suspended all payments to Rite Way and subsequently terminated its contract,” said MassHealth Director Dan Tsai. “MassHealth has strengthened its program integrity efforts to prevent inappropriate and unauthorized payments, and today’s outcome further signals that fraud and abuse will not be tolerated.”
“Rite Way and its leadership sought to defraud the taxpayers of the Commonwealth and undermine public trust in the MassHealth program. Today’s plea from Mr. Davini shows that in Massachusetts we take these transgressions seriously,” said State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump, whose 2015 audit found millions of dollars in potentially fraudulent billing by Rite Way. “I commend the staff of my office and the Attorney General’s Office for diligently working to bring these actions to light and seeking justice for the residents of our state.”
MassHealth provides non-emergency transportation services to aid its members in traveling to obtain covered medical services when public or personal transportation is not available or not suitable due to the member’s physical condition and circumstances. Pursuant to its regulations, MassHealth only pays transportation providers for non-emergency wheelchair van services provided to members who: (1) use wheelchairs; (2) need to be carried up or down stairs or require the assistance of two persons; or (3) have severe mobility handicaps that prevent them from using public transportation, dial-a-ride, or taxi transportation.
This matter was handled by AG Healey’s Medicaid Fraud Division, led by Managing Attorney Ian Marinoff, Assistant Attorneys General Ali Russo and Christina Chan, Senior Trial Counsel Elisha Willis, Investigations Supervisor Dean Bates, Senior Health Care Investigators Aleksandra Andriyevskaya, Steven Pfister, and Robert Ames, and Investigator Matthew Baldwin. MassHealth and the State Auditor’s Office provided significant cooperation in this investigation.