Bridgeport Woman Pleads Guilty to Charges Stemming from Medicaid Fraud Scheme
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that NIKKITA CHESNEY, 45, of Bridgeport, waived her right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport to one count of health care fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in May 2012, Chesney was employed by a health care provider that provided substance abuse treatment, including a detoxification program located in Bridgeport, when she was approached by Juliet Jacob and another individual. Jacob and the other individual operated two businesses, Transitional Development And Training (TDAT) and It Takes A Promise (ITAP), both located at 360 Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport, which provided social and psychotherapy services. At the suggestion of the other individual, Chesney began to steal the personal identification information of Medicaid clients who were patients of her employer. The personal identifying information included the patients’ Medicaid identification number, Social Security Numbers and dates of birth. Chesney, Jacob and the other individual then used the stolen identity information to bill Medicaid for psychotherapy services purportedly provided by TDAT and ITAP, when the Medicaid clients had never received any such services from TDAT and ITAP.
In pleading guilty, Chesney admitted to stealing the identity information of more than 150 Medicaid clients from her employer, and that she and her co-conspirators successfully billed Medicaid for approximately half of those clients. Chesney further admitted that she and her co-conspirators also billed Medicaid for services to other clients that were never provided to those clients.
When she is sentenced, Chesney faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years for health care fraud, and a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years for aggravated identity theft. She also has agreed to a restitution order of $1,364,698. A sentencing date has not been scheduled.
Chesney is released on a $25,000 bond pending sentencing.
On October 18, 2018, Jacob pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud for her role in this scheme and a separate Medicaid fraud scheme. She faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and has agreed to a restitution order of $2,711,173.
Five other individuals have been charged and convicted of health care fraud offenses as a result of this ongoing investigation.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Sheldon and Auditor Susan Spiegel.
This case is being jointly investigated by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office. U.S. Attorney Durham thanked the Connecticut Department of Social Services for their role in identifying the fraudulent scheme and supporting the investigation and prosecution of the case.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Chief State’s Attorney’s Office and Attorney General’s Office meet regularly as part of The Medicaid Fraud Working Group. The Working Group also includes representatives from the Connecticut Department of Social Services; the Connecticut Department of Public Health; the Drug Control Division of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection; the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the FBI. The Working Group reviews pending issues and cases, identifies trends that might indicate fraudulent activity, and coordinates efforts for maximum results.
People who suspect health care fraud are encouraged to report it by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS.