Jury Convicts Home Health Agency Owner of Stealing $2.5 Million Dollars from MassHealth
Office of the AG reports 5.15.2019 WORCESTER, MA — After a 10-day jury trial, the owner of a home health agency that previously had offices in Dracut and Worcester has been convicted on charges in connection with stealing approximately $2.5 million from the state’s Medicaid Program (MassHealth), Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The owner of Lifestream Healthcare Alliance, Hellen Kiago, age 48, of Sturbridge, was convicted on Tuesday after a jury trial in Worcester Superior Court on charges of Medicaid False Claims (4 counts) and Larceny over $250 by False Pretenses (1 count). She will be sentenced by Judge Robert Gordon on May 24. Lifestream was convicted on the same charges.
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.
Kiago and Lifestream were convicted on charges of billing MassHealth for services that were not authorized by physicians. Kiago was found to have personally directed employees to provide patients with hours 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.
This criminal conviction is part of a larger effort by AG Healey and MassHealth to combat fraud in the home health industry. In April, two home health care companies paid over $10 million to resolve allegations of submitting false claims to MassHealth. In August 2018, a jury convicted the owner of a Boston home health care agency, on seven counts in connection with a scheme to steal millions from MassHealth.
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.