AP NEWS

Couple arrested for allegedly running Medicaid fraud scheme

December 19, 2019 GMT

WOBURN, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts couple was arrested Thursday in connection with a Medicaid fraud scheme that involved exploiting homeless people, officials said.

John Wachira and Joanne Wachira, both of Chelmsford, were arrested and charged with Medicaid false claims, larceny over $1,200 and Medicaid kickbacks, according to a statement from Attorney General Maura Healey’s office.

The Wachiras operate Petra Health Care, a home health care company that provides in-home services to patients. From July 2015 to December 2017, the Wachiras recruited at least 10 homeless people to live in their house for free, but required them to be MassHealth members, the statement said.

The people in the house were allegedly required to sign up to receive Petra’s home health care services. The couple also required them to sign false timesheets indicating the group was receiving certain services including bathing and medication reminders, according to the statement.

The Wachiras and their company allegedly billed MassHealth for those services even though they were not provided.

The couple fraudulently obtained $543,542.19 from MassHealth as a result of the scheme, the statement said.

The couple is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Middlesex Superior Court.

A lawyer representing the Wachiras didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. No one answered at the offices of their company.