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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Caveat Emptor: Twin Sisters Charged With Pretending to Be Psychologists and Billing MassHealth for Their Services

From Boston.com

By Sara Morrison
September 15, 2014

Two sisters are in double trouble after being indicted for fraudulently billing federal, state, and local agencies more than $580,000.

According to the attorney general’s office, Nita Guzman and Nina Tischer are 49-year-old twins who ran two psychological service corporations based in Lowell. They are accused of assuming the identities of psychologists, a mental health counselor, and a social worker to provide services in the Lowell area. They then allegedly billed various agencies for those services to the tune of about $580,000.

If the charges are true, the sisters’ victims (besides the taxpayers) are children with special education needs and people with mental health disabilities.

They are accused of performing $60,000 worth of psychological evaluations of special education students in the Lawrence public school system. They allegedly used a licensed psychologist’s credentials to do so. Neither sister is a licensed psychologist.

They’re also accused of pulling the same scam on UMass Medical School when the duo evaluated people applying for mental health disability benefits. Tischer allegedly used the names and licenses of a mental health counselor and a social worker to bill UMass $30,000.

Another $490,000 of psychological services were billed to MassHealth and Medicare. The sisters allegedly used the identities and license information of two psychologists.

Guzman was charged with two counts of Medicaid false claims, one count of false claims to a public agency, four counts of larceny, two counts of identity fraud, and two counts of unlicensed practice of psychology.

Tischer was charged with three counts of false claims to a public agency, three counts of larceny, three counts of identity fraud, and three counts of unlicensed practice of psychology.

The sisters are scheduled to be arraigned at Middlesex Superior Court on Tuesday.

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