SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - A Holyoke woman who allegedly billed the state's Medicaid system for services provided by her brother, even though he was in jail at the time, is one of three local residents charged in a group of false claims cases.
According to Attorney General Martha Coakley's office, Amarilis Pirela was arraigned in Hampden Superior Court in Springfield earlier this month on four counts each of Medicaid False Claims and larceny over $250. Prosecutors say Pirella had submitted $20,000 worth of time sheets to MassHealth; claiming Personal Care Attendant (PCA) services provided by her brother, who was in jail at the time on a weapons charge. Pirella is also alleged to have claimed services to a member of MassHealth who turned out to be dead.
She was released on her own personal recognizance, and agreed to stop being a surrogate in the PCA program.
In two separate cases, James Lynch, 43, of Agawam, and Holly-Beth Riopel, 37, of Palmer were arraigned on Wednesday at Hampshire Superior Court in Northampton.
Lynch is accused of claiming to provide services while working as a bus driver with the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative. Prosecutors also allege he had had an agreement with a MassHealth member to inflate his timesheets, and then pay half of the money back to the member. In total, he is alleged to have billed the system $64,000.
Prosecutors accuse Riopel, who is a Palmer school teacher, with billing MassHealth $44,000 for services that she did not provide.
Both Lynch and Riopel are due back in court on June 13.
The three western Massachusetts residents are among eight people statewide who have been charged in connection with alleged false billings of the MassHealth system. In total, the eight defendants are accused of stealing about $260,000.