In a shocking turn of events, a dental office manager from Worcester has been sentenced for participating in a scheme to defraud the Massachusetts Medicaid program, MassHealth. Robin Cronin, 61, was handed down a sentence of two years probation by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Timothy S. Hilman. 

September of 2020 marked the month when Cronin, burdened by guilt, reluctantly admitted to a single count of conspiring to orchestrate health care fraud and another count of brazenly committing such deceitful acts.

Dental Conspiracy: Cronin’s Indictment & the Collusion of Dentists

The grand jury indictment and subsequent arrest of Cronin in January 2020 shed light on an elaborate dental conspiracy. This nefarious operation involved not just one but three individuals:

  • Cronin
  • Dr. Anthony DiStefano III
  • Dr. Scott Cale 

They all practiced dentistry in Worcester. However, it was DiStefano who had already been banned from participating in the MassHealth insurance program due to grave concerns about his substandard and dangerous dental care for patients. Determined to find a way around this exclusion, DiStefano cunningly recruited yet another co-conspirator, Cale, into their fold. 

Deceiving MassHealth: The Disturbing Truth Behind Dental Services

From 2014 to 2018, a shocking scheme unfolded within the realm of dental services. Driven by his desire for personal gain, DiStefano cunningly manipulated the system. Using Cale’s provider identification credentials, he billed MassHealth for services that he personally delivered. 

But this was just the tip of the iceberg. Cronin, DiStefano’s office manager, played an active role in this fraudulent arrangement, knowingly submitting false claims to MassHealth for unreimbursable services. This deceitful tactic aimed to deceive MassHealth into paying for dental services that DiStefano should not have been providing due to his termination from the program over concerns about the quality of care he offered.

Victims Left Vulnerable: Co-Conspirators Face Justice

As a result of this fraudulent scheme, numerous MassHealth patients suffered greatly and received dangerously poor care from DiStefano. The consequences of these actions cannot be understated, as innocent individuals were harmed due to greed and deception.

Dr. Scott Cale, who played a role in this conspiracy, also pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of supervised release on August 10, 2023. Charges against Dr. Anthony DiStefano III were dismissed.

Looking At the Whole Case: A Strong Message Sent

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy, along with Andrea Joy Campbell, Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Roberto Coviello, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, made the announcement regarding Cronin’s sentencing.

Prosecutors Evan Panich and Chris Looney from the Health Care Fraud Unit, alongside Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Lownds from Campbell’s office, worked tirelessly to bring justice in this case.

The sentencing of Robin Cronin serves as a reminder that those who seek to defraud government programs will be held accountable for their actions. The harm caused to vulnerable individuals through such schemes is unforgivable, and it is crucial that we continue to root out fraudsters in order to protect those who rely on essential services like MassHealth.

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