No Ride Share

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A brave little preschool age girl sits in her mother's lap at a table in the doctor's office. She opens her mouth wide for the nurse to swab her throat to check for strep.

Access to healthcare, or lack thereof, is a major nationwide policy discussion that usually centers around a patient’s ability to pay. Another factor that prevents many from receiving healthcare is having reliable transportation.

Recognizing this issue, Medicaid – the federal and state program for those with disabilities or low-income – will reimburse patients for rides under some circumstances. Unfortunately, that generosity has been exploited by some unscrupulous people who used the government healthcare program to commit Medicaid fraud in Massachusetts.

A New Hampshire man was among several who perpetrated Medicaid fraud. Michael Davini, 59, was recently sentenced to a year in jail and five years of probation after pleading guilty to multiple charges that he and his company, Rite Way LLC, filed false Medicaid claims and received kickbacks to steer patients to his ride-sharing service. (Obviously, there was nothing right about what he did.) He was ordered to pay $4.2 million in restitution.

The state attorney general’s office determined that Davini and Rite Way defrauded MassHealth – Massachusetts’ Medicaid program – of $19 million between 2011 and 2015. (That’s a heck of a lot of rides.) They committed Medicaid fraud by filing for rides that were never provided and paying kickbacks to MassHealth members for referring customers. The company, which provided patients with non-emergency transportation to methadone clinics for addiction treatment, closed in 2015. (Too bad this vulnerable group got taken for a ride. They deserved better service.)

Three former managers of Rite Way pleaded guilty to related charges in 2016.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from the article, “Michael Davini of Rite Way fined $4.2 million, gets jail time for fraudulently billing MassHealth millions of dollars,” published Nov. 4, 2019 on masslive.com.

The owner of a medical transportation company that fraudulently billed MassHealth for millions of dollars has been sentenced to jail time and ordered to pay $4.2 million in restitution.

Michael Davini, owner of Westminster-based Rite Way, was sentenced to one year in the Hampshire County House of Corrections by Judge William Ritter in Worcester Superior Court Monday. That sentence will be followed by a 2½-year sentence suspended for five years, as well as five years of probation.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.