Thomaston woman charged in Medicaid fraud

Andrea J. Prenez, arrested by Inspectors from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Office of the Chief State's Attorney

THOMASTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The Inspectors from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney arrested a Thomaston woman for using a relative’s name to illegally bill Medicaid for more than $600,000 for services she was not legally qualified to provide or did not provide at all.

Andrea J. Prenez charged with larceny in the first-degree by defrauding a public community, criminal attempt to commit larceny in the first-degree by defrauding a public community, identity theft in the first-degree and health insurance fraud.

Prenez is a principal of Sweet Counseling Services, LLC, also doing business under the name Thomaston Counseling Associates, which offers marriage and family therapy services. According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Prenez failed the state licensing examination for marriage and family therapy three times and as such is not authorized to either provide or be paid by Medicaid for any such services.

The investigation disclosed that over a nearly four-year period beginning in June 2012, Prenez used the identity and credentials of a relative who is licensed and authorized to bill Medicaid to bill for services Prenez could not legally provide herself and for services she never rendered.

In all, the warrant states, Prenez submitted $661,205 in claims for 84 patients to Medicaid, a taxpayer-funded program that provides health care to low- and no-income individuals. The relative whose name was used for the billings was not aware of the scheme, the warrant states.

Prenez was released on a $500,000 non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear in Hartford Superior Court on June 21, 2017.