Trio allegedly scammed Medicaid

By JOHN LIPPMAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 11-09-2023 2:31 AM

CLAREMONT — Three Sullivan County residents have been indicted in connection with an alleged Medicaid fraud scheme, the latest in a series of actions the New Hampshire State Attorney General’s Office has brought this year alleging state residents bilked the state-managed public assistance program.

Sara Lapointe and Joseph Bye, both of Claremont, were indicted by a Merrimack County Grand Jury in October over an alleged scheme that centered around the couple separately submitting false mileage reimbursement claims for travel between where they purported to be living and a drug treatment program in Concord.

The false claims yielded the couple more than a total of $40,000 in ill-gotten gains, according to court documents.

Lapointe, 28, and Bye, 31, have each been charged with felony theft and Medicaid fraud, according to a news release issued this week by New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella.

Also indicted is Kimberly Patterson, 51, of Cornish, who has been charged with perjury and Medicaid fraud.

Attorneys for Lapointe and Bye did not respond to emails for comment on Thursday.

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Patterson, reached by phone on Thursday, declined to comment.

The alleged theft of Medicaid funds was uncovered after investigators in the state’s Medicaid fraud unit were contacted by a counselor with a New Hampshire health insurance plan reporting that Lapointe and Bye appeared to be using addresses at which neither resided to submit false claims to a program that pays for mileage reimbursement of Medicaid recipients who are traveling to and from covered treatment, according to court documents.

Lapointe stated in her mileage reimbursement claims that she was residing at an address on Beechwood Drive owned by Patterson in Cornish, a 130-mile round trip from and to her treatment program in Concord.

Bye stated in his mileage reimbursement claims that he was living in Danville, N.H., at his father’s residence, an 80-mile round trip from and to his treatment program in Concord.

In fact, a state Medicaid fraud investigation alleges, Lapointe and Bye were together living at an apartment in Concord that was a three-mile round trip between their residence and treatment programs.

Lapointe and Bye lived at the apartment in Concord for about two years between 2020 and 2022, during most of which Lapointe was claiming to be residing in Cornish and Bye at his father’s residence, the state investigator said in his affidavit in support of charges.

How Patterson is alleged to have participated in Lapointe’s and Bye’s alleged scheme to bilk Medicaid out of thousands of dollars is not detailed in the available documents in Patterson’s public court docket.

But the affidavit in support of the charges against Lapointe, who Patterson told the investigator was an acquaintance whom she wanted to help after Lapointe had been released from incarceration, said that Patterson — when questioned by the investigator — corroborated Lapointe’s alleged false account of when she claimed to be living at Patterson’s home in Cornish.

Lapointe received more than $19,000 in reimbursements based upon her false mileage claims, court documents said.

Bye received more than $21,000 in reimbursements from submitting the false claims.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman at jlippman@vnews.com.