Bridgeport Woman Sentenced to Prison for Identity Theft, Health Care Fraud Offenses
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that NIKKITA CHESNEY, 46, of Bridgeport, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport to seven months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for her role in a Medicaid fraud scheme.
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 Toshirea Jackson. Jackson and Juliet Jacob 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 Jackson’s suggestion, 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, Jackson and Jacob 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.
Chesney has admitted that she stole the identity information of more than 150 Medicaid clients, 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.
Judge Bolden ordered Chesney to pay restitution of $1,369,654.57.
On October 23, 2018, Chesney pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Chesney, who is released on a $25,000 bond, is required to report to prison on September 20, 2019.
Jackson and Jacob each pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud for their roles in this scheme and a separate Medicaid fraud scheme. On May 30, 2019, Jackson, who was an employee of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution of $2,496,618. Jacob awaits sentencing.
Five other individuals have been charged and convicted of health care fraud offenses as a result of this and related investigations.
Chesney also has pending state charges stemming from a fraud scheme she engaged in while employed by a state contractor that provided services to individuals who were transitioning to the community following completion of substance abuse treatment. In 2017, Chesney and others submitted fraudulent claims for childcare services to a state program. Chesney’s role in the scheme involved 20 fraudulent claims that resulted in a loss of more than $35,000 to the state program.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Sheldon and Auditor Susan Spiegel.
This case has been 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.