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Kenyan who defrauded US Medicaid of Sh85 million gets suspended sentence

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A Kenyan-born businessman in the United States who three years ago was accused of fraudulent defrauding US’s Medicaid claims amounting to Sh85 million ($815,588) has been sentenced to two years in prison, with the entire sentence suspended.

Francis Kimaru, 44, who is the owner of Compassionate Homecare Inc, was sentenced to two years last week after pleading guilty in the Worcester Superior Court to two counts of filing false Medicaid claims and one county of larceny of more than Sh25,000 ($250).

The fraudulent billing is alleged to have occurred from 2011 to February of 2016.

According to local media in Massachusetts, Kimaru will be placed on administrative probation during the two year suspended sentence.

Compassionate Homecare Inc, which is based in Worcester but also has branches in West Springfield and Lawrence, was indicted along with owner Kimaru and in 2016 on five counts of filing false Medical claims.

The US attorney general’s office said the company defrauded the taxpayer-funded MassHealth, which provides Medicaid to the poor and low income in the state, of Sh85 million ($815,588) through several fraudulent schemes.

Kimaru was charged with the offenses along with the company’s chief operating officer, Wilberto Rodriguez and Deborah Giordano, a company administrator.

The attorney general’s office said that between 2011 and 2016, Compassionate Homecare billed MassHealth through several fraudulent schemes, including recruiting patients who did not need health services at all.

FORGED SIGNATURES

Prosecutors also said the company “routinely and knowingly” billed MassHealth “for services that had not been authorized by a doctor; in several instances, the company allegedly altered records to make it appear that patients who had been denied care by a doctor had been approved,” according to the telegram.com.

In some cases, prosecutors said, the company forged doctors’ signatures after they refused to authorize questionable services.

Giordano and Rodriguez’s cases ended on Wednesday without pleas or finding under an agreement between prosecutors and their attorneys.

They were both placed on pretrial probation for two years, and their charges will be dismissed after two years if they do not get in trouble with the law.

Giordano was ordered to pay $2,400 in restitution. She agreed to not work in any capacity that will involve her submitting claims to MassHealth for a period of six months.

Rodriguez was ordered not to violate any MassHealth regulations as a condition of his pretrial probation, reports telegram.com.

Kimaru and Rodrigez are scheduled to appear in court again on November 14th for a restitution hearing, which will determine how much restitution if any they will pay.

By Nairobi News

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PHOTO: Kenyan teacher makes heads turn as he meets Donald Trump in The Oval Office

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BY JILL KAUF

WASHINGTON DC -A Kenyan teacher who has won the hearts of many with his humility met President Donald Trump in The Oval Office at the White House on Monday.

Peter Tabichi, the educator from Nakuru County who won Sh100 million after clinching the 2019 Global Teacher Prize, is in the US for a number of engagements, including addressing the 2019 United Nations General Assembly in New York.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted that Tabichi’s  dedication, hard work, and belief in his student’s talent has led his poorly resourced school in Kenya to emerge victorious after taking on the country’s best schools in national science competitions.

“Peter, you inspire us all! Thank you for your commitment to your students,” she tweeted.

She wrote: This morning, President met with Peter Tabichi, the recipient of the 2019 Global Teacher Prize! Peter is a science teacher who gives away 80% of his monthly income to help the poor in his home country of Kenya.

Teacher Peter Tabichi shakes hands with Kenyan-born US based journalist BMJ Muriithi when they met in Washington DC Monday. FILE PHOTO

While being hosted in the Oval Office is generally considered a great honor, not everyone thought that President Trump deserved to be in the presence of Teacher Tabichi.

Heatherdb13 tweeted: “Congratulations Mr Tabichi! I’m sure you deserve this incredible honour! I wish it could have been bestowed upon you by someone with integrity, morals and a soul.”

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Rare zebra excites visitors in the Mara

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A photographer at a camp in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve was in for a surprise when he came across an incredibly rare, “blacker” newly born Zebra.

Mr Antony Tira – A renowned tour guide-cum photographer – at Matira bush camp, spotted and photographed the black dotted foul and posted it on the camp’s Facebook page attracting a lot of social media attention.

“At first I thought it was a zebra that had been captured and painted or marked for purposes of migration. I was confused when I first saw it,” Mr Tira told the Nation.

He said on closer examination, he realised that what he was seeing was actually a zebra with melanin disorder. It was hardly a week old, it appeared weak and very different from the others for it has not stripes and was stuck close to a female adult zebra, probably its mother.

The discovery caused stampede in the reserve with tour drivers and photographers, hurriedly taking tourists to the lookout area in the game reserve near the Mara River for the rare find that has remained the top story in the Mara for the last three days.

The tourists have been taking extra clips of this rare holiday experience.

Hundreds of tour vans surrounded the already scared foul, and, according to Mr Felix Migoya the Mara tour guides and drivers association secretary, it created “an additional wonder” for international tourists who are in the reserve to for the last moments of the wildebeest migration.

The zebra has a rather amazing dark colour due to a genetic abnormality linked to the amount of melanin, affecting the pigmentation of the fur.

According to a wildlife specialist at Matira Camp Parmale Lemein, there has never been any recorded case in the Mara of such a rare zebra.

But he was quick to point out that none of the Zebras with such condition in other parks in Africa, according to research, has survived for more than six months after birth.

Due to other abnormalities of this nature, some scientists claim that zebra stripes are formed from the inhibition of melanin and that the “default” colour of a zebra is black. In other words, a zebra is black with white stripes.

Zebras stripes, according to researchers, work to ward off hordes of biting flies that the animals come in contact with on a daily basis and without the protection, such Zebras may be vulnerable.

Animals with albinism have been documented in a variety of other species including giraffes, penguins, orangutans and mice.

A few years ago at the Serengeti a zebra with blonde, rather than black stripes, was spotted and photographed. It was said to have much less melanin than typical zebras.

Until now, very few blonde zebras have been seen in the wild, although there are a few dozen living on a private reserve in Mount Kenya National Park.

Interestingly, the blonde male zebras at this private reserve behave like “stallions with harems”, according to Ren Larison, a biologist at the University of California.

However, while mating is not an issue for zebras with partial albinism, they could face other challenges.

A recent study suggested that zebras evolved black and white stripes to ward off biting flies, and without this colouring, blonde zebras could be susceptible.

by nation.co.ke

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Retailers’ big dilemma as D-Day for old generation Sh1,000 banknote nears

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Supermarkets and entities that receive large volumes of cash everyday are in a Catch-22 situation on how to deal with sales on the last day of trading with the old Sh1,000 note.

Two weeks to the deadline, retailers now want the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to give them the way forward on how to deal with the ongoing demonetisation of the old-generation Sh1,000 note, which will cease to be legal tender on September 30.

WORTHLESS CASH

They say they may be forced to reject the old currency days before the deadline so that they are not caught up with large volumes of cash that will become worthless overnight.

Naivas chief executive officer Willy Kimani told the Nation in an interview that, besides fake cash, the biggest concern for retailers is how to deal with the old notes they will collect on the last day given that supermarkets receive a lot of cash.

“The biggest concern for us is deadline day. We may be forced to stop accepting old notes earlier,” Mr Kimani said, adding that retailers have invested heavily in training their staff on differentiating fake from genuine cash.

Mr Kimani said only one of his stores was hit by the fake-currency syndicate in the initial days of rolling out the new-generation notes but it was immediately reported. He said cashiers have been trained and it is their responsibility to ensure that they do not get conned.

CBK did not respond to our inquiries on what supermarkets are expected to do. It has however put up a mobile-based SMS campaign reminding consumers to ensure they return the old Sh1,000 notes before the deadline.

FAKE CASH

Nakumatt Holdings’ administrator Peter Kahi says the retailer has trained its employees to detect fake currency and has not received any fake-cash incident in any of its branches.

To deal with the last-day nightmare, Kahi says he plans to bank all the cash collected on September 30 so that the retailer is not left with valueless money the following day.

This comes at a time when fake new-generation banknotes have hit the financial market weeks to the September 30 deadline as imitators rush to beat the Central Bank at its own game. Investigations by the Nation revealed that the counterfeiters are getting better with every revision.

The fake money syndicate, which began in Murang’a, has spread its tentacles into Nairobi and Kiambu counties, taking advantage of traders’ naivety.

It was hoped that the introduction of new notes would disrupt the multibillion currency counterfeits business and the fraudsters’ agility at imitating the new notes in a short span of time is bound to be a big blow to efforts to rid the country of dirty and fake money.

Small traders and those running M-Pesa shops have been the easy targets of the counterfeiters, who have now come up with fake versions of the new Sh100, Sh500 and the Sh1,000 notes.

CONNED

In July, police in Kandara, Murang’a County, arrested two men and a woman who were found with fake money in two separate incidents.

In one incident, a man and a woman were nabbed making rounds in Kandara, conning mobile money transfer agents with fake new-generation currency.

Kandara OCPD Paul Wambugu said the two had conned an agent at Naaro shopping centre where they deposited Sh7,000 and later at Kaburugi where they tried to deposit Sh10,000 only for the attendant to realise that the money was fake.

Almost every week, the DCI through its Twitter handle, reports one incident or the other of fake-money arrests, but the most counterfeited are Kenya shillings and US dollars.

Last week, detectives seized over Sh2.7 million in fake currency in Ngurubani, Mwea East from a bonnet of a Mazda Demio driven by 33-year-old Job Arwa Omondi. Detectives also confiscated assorted bottles of chemicals believed to be used in processing the fake old Sh1,000 notes.

On the same day, over Sh200 million in fake US Dollars, Euros and Pounds was confiscated in Kileleshwa by officers acting on a tip-off. One suspect, 27-year-old Bobby Kariuki Kimani, was arrested.

Another fake currency syndicate was busted in Bungoma last week involving DCI officers, showing how deep the syndicate is, after a senior police officer was arrested with Sh4.3 million in fake foreign currency.

By Nation.co.ke

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