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Malden man charged with fraud allegedly lied about mentoring youth

Posted by Jarret Bencks  July 12, 2013 03:04 PM

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A Malden man who worked as a youth mentor faces criminal charges for over-billing state-funded organizations and lying about how much time he spent with behaviorally challenged youth, according to the Attorney General's office.

Welch Paul, 31, was charged Wednesday with six counts each of false claims to Medicaid and larceny for allegedly claiming he provided weekly mentoring to six children between January 2011 and January 2012, but only actually met them a few times in all.

Paul allegedly defrauded MassHealth Managed Care Organizations out of $33,000, and earned $13,000 in pay under false pretenses, according to a statement from Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Paul served as a "Therapeutic Mentor" for youths in Malden through non-profit Eliot Community Human Services, the statement said. He was supposed to provide one-to-one, mentoring and help address the needs of daily life. He submitted progress notes for dozens of meetings, describing events that never happened, such as taking one child shopping on Christmas Eve, going trick-or-treating on Halloween, and getting together on Thanksgiving, prosecutors said.

The notes were given to Eliot Community Human Services, which used them to bill MassHealth providers. 

The human service organization began a review of Paul's billings during a routine audit, according to Kate Markarian, president of Eliot Community Human Services.

"We just discovered it as we did our routine audit of all of our third party billing. Something did not look right," Markarian said. "As we dug deeper, we found out it appeared he was lying."

Paul was placed on unpaid leave while Eliot conducted an internal investigation, and has since been fired, Markarian said. The Attorney General's office was notified, and Eliot refunded the health providers that were billed, Markarian said.

Paul is expected to be arraigned July 23. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JarretBencks.


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