A former healthcare provider received a seven-month prison term and was ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution for Medicaid fraud. Nikkita Chesney, 46, Bridgeport, also requires three years of supervised release once she has served her time in prison.
Medicaid Identity Theft
In 2012, Chesney was working at a Bridgeport facility offering substance abuse treatment and a detoxification program. Toshirea Jackson, who owned the psychotherapy and social services businesses Transitional Development And Training (“TDAT”) and It Takes A Promise (“ITAP”) along with Juliet Jacob, asked Chesney to steal her patients’ Medicaid identification information.
Chesney admits she stole the Medicaid information, along with Social Security numbers and birth dates, of more than 150 people. Chesney, Jackson, and Jacob then billed Medicaid for psychotherapy services never provided for roughly half of the patients whose identification was stolen.
Other services besides psychotherapy were also billed to Medicaid although not provided. The scheme involved using the Medicaid provider numbers of two employees of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (“CDMHAS”). Jackson was a CDMHAS employee.
Last October, Chesney pleaded guilty to one count each of healthcare fraud and aggravated identity theft. After pleading guilty in December on one count of healthcare fraud, on May 30, 2019, Jackson, 50, received a two-year sentence for her role in the crime and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of nearly $2.5 million.
As of this writing, Jacob has not been sentenced. However, she pleaded guilty in October to one count of healthcare fraud in this case as well as another Medicaid fraud incident. This and other investigations have lead to the charging of five other people with healthcare fraud.
Medicaid fraud is a federal offense, but Chesney has state charges pending for another fraud case. These charges stem from her employment by a state contractor helping people transition back to the community after completing a substance abuse treatment program.
In this instance, Chesney submitted 20 fraudulent claims in 2017 to the state for childcare services, costing the program providing this reimbursement approximately $35,000.
Medicaid Psychotherapy Fraud
Chesney, Jackson, and Jacob were far from the only criminals attempting to defraud Connecticut’s Medicaid program for phony psychotherapy services. In 2019, Ronnette Brown, 45, Bristol, was sentenced to four years in federal prison after conviction on 23 counts of healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud.
She must pay $2 million in restitution. Brown operated a social services company called WeMPACT LLC, billing Medicaid for these sham psychotherapy services from 2010 to 2014.
Her co-conspirator in the scheme, Beverly Coker, 68, Windsor, a licensed clinical social worker, pleaded guilty to one count of healthcare fraud and admitted she allowed Brown and another individual to bill Medicaid for fraudulent psychotherapy services using her Medicaid provider number. For letting the others use her number, Coker received 30 percent of the proceeds, which totaled $214,000.
If you are a past or present healthcare worker has “original source” (inside) information about chronic understaffing, poor quality care or other serious violations of state or Medicare rules, contact us. We can help assure your information gets into the right hands.
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