Hartford Social Worker Charged with Medicaid Fraud
A Hartford social worker was arrested today and charged with cheating Medicaid out of thousands of dollars by using other social workers’ names to bill for services the government health care program would not pay her to provide.
KATHLEEN SERVICE, age 63, of Farmington Avenue, Hartford, was arrested by Inspectors from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney and charged with one count each of Larceny in the First Degree By Defrauding A Public Community, Health Insurance Fraud and Identity Theft in the First Degree, and two counts of Identity Theft in the Third Degree.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Service is a master’s level social worker and principal of Unlimited Family Services, LLC, an independent counseling practice in Hartford. In December 2017, the Department of Social Services (DSS), which administers the state’s Medicaid program, notified all master’s level social workers, including Service, that they were no longer eligible to bill the Medicaid program for counseling.
In July 2018, DSS notified the MFCU that Service apparently had skirted the 2017 termination notice by continuing to bill the Medicaid program using the credentials of other eligible enrolled providers who were unaware of such billing, the warrant states.
Subsequent investigation by MFCU Inspectors revealed that Service used the credentials of three other providers to collect more than $151,960 for some 1,722 claims for counseling she could not bill Medicaid for in her own name. Medicaid is a federal and state taxpayer-funded program that provides health care to low and no-income individuals.
Service was released on a $100,000 surety bond and is scheduled to appear in Hartford Superior Court, G.A. No. 14, on October 17, 2019. The charges are merely accusations and she is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Larceny in the First Degree by Defrauding a Public Community and Identity Theft in the First Degree are class B felonies each punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Identity Theft in the Third Degree is a class D felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Health Insurance Fraud is an unclassified felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
The case will prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The Unit is grateful for the assistance it received in this investigation from the Department of Social Services Office of Quality Assurance and the New Britain Police Department.