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Massachusetts woman used an imaginary personal care assistant to bill for services provided to herself.
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WORCESTER — A city woman was arraigned Tuesday in Worcester Superior Court Tuesday on charges she defrauded MassHealth of $37,000 by creating a fictional personal care assistant.
Amy Sutherland, also known as Amy Petrucelli, was released on personal recognizance on charges of medical assistance fraud and larceny over $1,200, records show.
According to court documents provided by the office of Attorney General Maura T. Healey, which is prosecuting Sutherland, the 48-year-old Worcester woman, from 2017 to 2019, submitted time sheets for PCA services provided to her by an Amy Petrucelli.
Petrucelli was paid $37,000 over that time frame, the AG said, but does not actually exist. The AG alleges the two are the same person, with Petrucelli being Sutherland’s maiden name.
Court documents indicate the fraud was discovered after Sutherland was pressed by a skills trainer and doctor for contact information and questions about care she purported to receive from Petrucelli.
“Sutherland refused to provide any information and ultimately withdrew from the PCA program in August 2019,” the prosecution wrote. “Sutherland has since tried to reenter the PCA program but has refused to allow for a surrogate to manage her services.”
MassHealth’s PCA program allows members with long-term disabilities to hire PCAs to assist them with daily activities. The consumer and the customer are required to submit bi-weekly timesheets for the work.
In addition to having the same birthday, Sutherland and Petrucelli have the same mailing address, the AG said.
Sutherland was released by Judge David Ricciardone on the condition that she not leave the state, that she turn in her passport and notify probation if she requests PCA services, records show.
Court records Tuesday did not list an attorney for Sutherland. She is due back in court Jan. 26.
Sutherland is one of three local residents charged in October after a crackdown of fraud in the state’s PCA program.
This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Worcester woman arraigned on Medicaid fraud charges