FAIRBANKS—A former personal care attendant who fraudulently billed Medicaid for $50,484 in services she did not personally provide was sentenced Wednesday in Fairbanks Superior Court.
Sirje Kulakevich, 57, of Delta Junction, pleaded guilty to one count of felony medical assistance fraud and was given a suspended entry of judgment and three years probation.
Kulakevich must pay a $5,000 fine, perform 72 hours of community service and pay back the money she fraudulently received. If Kulakevich fails to do so or commits another crime, a judge could impose a judgment of conviction and sentence her to up to 18 months in prison.
Kulakevich will attend a yearly hearing during her probation to ensure she is abiding by the terms of her plea agreement.
According to charging documents filed in Delta Junction, Kulakevich was employed as a personal care attendant for Alaska Home Care in Delta Junction from 2010 to 2016. During that time she took lengthy absences from the state but submitted time sheets and notes of the condition of her clients and was paid for her services.
Investigators with the Alaska Medicaid Fraud Control Unit determined that Kulakevich's 32-year-old son and 31-year-old daughter had actually performed the work in her absence. Kulakevich admitted to the fraud and told investigators she paid her son and daughter for their work, according to the charges.
Kulakevich acted as her own attorney and was prosecuted by John C. Cagle, assistant attorney general and director of the fraud unit. Cagle participated via telephone from Anchorage.
At her hearing, Kulakevich asked to have her passport returned to her so she could take a cruise. Cagle said Kulakevich would need to get permission from her probation officer to travel outside the state.
Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.