BOSTON – Two women were arrested yesterday and indicted in connection with a $ 100 million home nursing fraud program. The government also filed a civil lawsuit seeking the loss of five properties and 40 financial accounts, as well as investing in a system to launder illicit profits.
Faith Newton, 52, from Westford and Winnie Waruru, 41, from Lowell have been charged with a health fraud conspiracy. a count of healthcare fraud – Aid; and a conspiracy to pay and receive setbacks. Newton was also charged with a number of money laundering conspiracies and seven money laundering cases. In addition, Waruru has been charged on two counts of making false statements and one case of making false statements on a health matter. Newton and Waruru were arrested yesterday and will appear in federal court in Boston at 1:30 p.m. today
According to the indictment, Newton was a partner and operator of Arbor Homecare Services LLC from January 2013 to January 2017. Waruru was a licensed practical nurse who worked as a home nurse at Arbor. It is believed that Newton and Waruru conspired to use Arbor to defraud MassHealth and Medicare worth at least $ 100 million by committing healthcare fraud and paying kickbacks to get referrals. Newton then allegedly laundered the illicit profits.
Specifically, it is alleged that Arbor was not trained by Newton and other employees, was billed for home health services that were never performed or not medically necessary, and for unauthorized home health services. Arbor developed through Newton and other employment relationships to pay setbacks for patient referrals regardless of the requirements of medical need. They also entered into bogus employment with the patients’ family members to provide home health services that were medically unnecessary and were routinely billed for fictitious visits that Newton knew did not take place. As claimed in the civil lawsuit, Newton targeted vulnerable, low-income, disabled, and / or depressed and / or addicted patients, either directly or through Arbor.
According to the indictment, Waruru and Arbor MassHealth billed Waruru’s qualified care visits, many of which were not made. Waruru also passed cash payments from Newton on to an Arbor patient in order to keep that patient.
Newton reportedly used the laundered proceeds of the $ 100 million program to buy multiple homes and a Maserati, and fund investment accounts, a lavish lifestyle, and numerous financial transactions. In the civil forfeiture proceedings, five properties in Westford, North Andover, Chelmsford and Dracut are to be forfeited to the United States and the contents of 40 bank accounts and / or investments are forfeited.
The healthcare fraud, healthcare conspiracy conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and money laundering charges each see a prison sentence of up to 10 years, three years of custody release and a fine of up to $ 250,000 or double the money in the laundry . The conspiracy to pay setbacks, make false statements, and make false statements in the healthcare sector calls for up to five years’ imprisonment, three years of custodial release, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 each. Sentences are passed by a federal district judge based on U.S. sentencing guidelines and other legal factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Phillip M. Coyne, US Department of Health Special Representative, Inspector General’s Office, Investigative Office; Ramsey E. Covington, assistant special commissioner for the Internal Revenue Service in Boston; and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special envoy for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, announced today. Assistant US attorneys Rachel Y. Hemani of Lelling’s Health Care Fraud Unit and David G. Lazarus, head of Lelling’s Asset Recovery Unit, are following the cases.
The information contained in the court documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they have been found unequivocally guilty in a court of law.