Modernizing Medicine Agrees to Pay $45 Million to Resolve Allegations of Accepting and Paying Illegal Kickbacks and Caused False Claims
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Misti Baker, 36, of Brandon, Vermont, was arrested today as part of a national healthcare fraud takedown. U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy ordered Baker detained pending a detention hearing on June 24, 2016.
On June 8, 2016, a federal grand jury in Rutland returned an indictment charging Baker with health care fraud. According to the indictment, Baker defrauded the State of Vermont’s Children’s Personal Care Services (CPCS) program. CPCS, which is jointly funded by federal and Vermont Medicaid dollars, is designed to provide supplemental assistance with self-care and activities of daily living to Medicaid-eligible children with significant disabilities or health conditions. Three of Baker’s children qualified for the CPCS program. The indictment alleges that Baker submitted false time sheets and diverted funds for her own use, rather than obtaining supplemental assistance for her children. The indictment charges Baker with submitting false time sheets and fraudulently diverting approximately $77,306.57 in health care funds.
The United States Attorney emphasized that the charges in the indictment are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until she is proven guilty. If convicted, Baker faces up to ten years’ imprisonment, and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence would be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines.
Baker was arrested today as part of a nation-wide initiative to combat health care fraud. Over 30 federal districts, from Alaska to Florida, unveiled charges against approximately 300 defendants who participated in a variety of schemes which involved more than $900 million of fraud. The national initiative is described more fully in a press release issued by the Department of Justice earlier today and available at https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/national-health-care-fraud-takedown-results-charges-against-301-individuals-approximately-900.
United States Attorney, Eric S. Miller, commended the investigative efforts of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Boston Regional Office, and the Vermont Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Miller added, “Health care fraud is not an abstract or victimless crime. The defendants pursued by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services in this operation have allegedly enriched themselves by stealing taxpayer money designated to help people who are most in need.”
The United States is represented in this case by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ophardt. Baker is represented by Christopher L. Davis, Esq. of Langrock, Sperry, & Wool, LLP.