A Kenyan-born nurse is facing up to 15 years in jail after she pleaded guilty in a $100 million fraud case in the United States.
Winnie Waruru will be sentenced on Thursday, January 12, 2023, after pleading guilty in a Boston court last year.
The 42-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conduct health care fraud, one count of aiding and abetting health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, two counts of making false statements, and one count of making a false statement in a health care issue.
In February 2021, she was arrested and accused with Faith Newton, who has disputed the accusations and is awaiting trial.
Between January 2013 and January 2017, the two allegedly utilized Arbor Homecare Services LLC as a conduit to steal $100 million from MassHealth and Medicare - a program that provides health coverage largely to low-income people - by claiming refunds and making fraudulent statements. They then shut down the company.
MassHealth, which pays for personal care attendants, medical equipment, and particular prescriptions and has a budget in the billions of dollars, has been a target of swindlers who first seek to become providers through registered firms.
Nurses from the healthcare firm are meant to care for vulnerable members and then charge the program for reimbursement.
Waruru and Newton were both charged with "conspiracy to conduct health care fraud" and charging for healthcare services that they did not provide. They are also accused of giving fraudulent information to MassHealth.
The federal government has initiated a civil lawsuit to take the duo's assets and freeze their bank accounts, which included millions of dollars.
Waruru and Newton, 52, lived largely in America until the authorities caught up with them.
One drove a Maserati, an Italian luxury brand famed for its distinctive look, and the other a Range Rover.
They kept their lives quiet as dollar billionaires, and few Kenyans were aware of the two nurses whose wealth appeared limitless.
In addition to their opulent lives, they owned five houses in the United States and had 40 bank accounts.
According to the court filings, they also allegedly got into phoney employment ties with patients' family members to offer home health aide services that were not medically necessary and frequently billed for bogus appointments that did not occur.
“As alleged in the civil complaint, Newton either directly or through Arbor, targeted particularly vulnerable patients who were low-income, on disability and/or suffering from depression and/or addiction,” US Attorney’s Office added.
Prosecutors allege that Waruru and Arbor billed MassHealth for skilled nursing visits that she did not execute, were medically unnecessary, or were not authorized by a physician.
Waruru, who faces up to 15 years in jail, was directly responsible for Arbor billing MassHealth for over $1.2 million in bogus skilled nursing visits.
She also reportedly transmitted financial payments from Newton to two Arbor patients to keep those patients.
US Senior District Court Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. will pronounce the sentence.
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