A part-owner and operator of an Alaska-based home health agency was sentenced to prison this month in a case that resulted in the prosecution of 50 former employees of the company, Good Faith Services LLC.
In a twist of the company’s namesake, prosecutors alleged that the agency owner was fully aware of a scheme that fraudulently billed Medicaid for services that were never performed, and provided kickbacks to care recipients.
Agnes Francisco, 56, was sentenced to three years in prison, a $50,000 fine and 10 years of probation for her role in the scheme as the operator and part-owner of the business. The ruling concludes a year-long legal battle since Francisco was charged with medical assistance fraud in November 2014.
Francisco oversaw hundreds of personal care attendants while running the business, which provided personal care, transportation and care coordination services to Medicaid beneficiaries. Prosecutors found that the company provided kickbacks to beneficiaries and also billed for services while at times when care attendants and recipients were out of the country.
An initial review by prosecutors in 2013 found that some care attendants employed by the company were making more than $100,000 per year. One attendance reportedly made more than $275,000 annually, according to the Dept. of Homeland Security.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Peterson noted that it wasn’t likely that Francisco had no knowledge of the illegal billing practices as operator of the company, Alaska Dispatch News reported. A state witness described Francisco as “money-hungry.”
Charges were filed against 29 employees in July 2014, though the company remained in business for another four months before the state stripped its authority to bill Medicaid.
At the same time, Good Faith Services and its affiliated company, Anchorage Adult Day Services, were fined $300,000 and $20,000 respectively. Good Faith Services was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1.2 million.
Adult Day Services’ face a criminal charge for employing Francisco’s son, Philip Francisco, without a valid background check. The company has been barred from submitting Medicaid bills.
The state of Alaska has ramped up its fight against Medicare fraud since 2012, extending its investigations into home health, personal care and community and home based waiver services.
Written by Amy Baxter