9 workers indicted after Danieal Kelly's death

May 7, 2009 8:22:40 AM PDT
The United States Attorney's Office issued a 21-count indictment Friday charging 8 employees of a social service agency with defrauding the city and the federal government. The indictment states that the employees falsely claimed to have provided services to needy families and then billing the city for services.

Read the full indictment against the accused MultiEthnic Behavioral Health employees.

A ninth employee is charged with lying to a federal grand jury.

All nine implicated in the indictment were employees of MultiEthnic Behavioral Health, Inc. ("MEBH"). The indictment also claims their negligence contributed to the death of a 14-year old girl, for whom the city hired MEBH to provide services.

The indictment alleges 12 counts of wire fraud, six counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation, one count of providing a false statement to federal agents, and one count of perjury before a federal grand jury.

Charged are MEBH co-founders Mickal Kamuvaka, Solomon Manamela, Earle McNeill, and Manuelita Buenaflor. Also charged are MEBH workers Julius Juma Murray, Miriam Coulibaly, Christiana Nimpson, and Sotheary Chan.

MEBH worker Patricia Burch is charged with one count of perjury.

The city had a contract with MEBH from July 2000 through December 2006, during that time paying the company a total of $3,727,190 to provide social services to more than 500 families. The contract was for in-home social services for children at risk of neglect, abuse, and delinquency.

The contract required MEBH workers to visit DHS family clients. However, the district attorney's office alleges the workers and MEBH supervisors ignored this responsibility and falsified records to make it appear as if they had made the visits.

On August 4, 2006 14-year-old Danieal Kelly was found dead in her home. Kelly was a DHS client that MEBH was supposed to be serving.

Authorities say Kamuvaka and Murray, with the help of other employees, created false records that were placed into Kelly's client file, giving the appearance that a worker had provided services.

The indictment also claims that after learning of Danieal Kelly's death, supervisors Kamuvaka and Buenaflor ordered certain records to be removed, which were inconsistent with the falsified records submitted to the city. In addition, authorities say Buenaflor then had a MEBH computer hard drive erased in an attempt to hide the fraud and Kamuvaka disposed of two trash bags containing records that were the subject of federal grand jury subpoenas.

Defendants Kamuvaka, Manamela, McNeill, Buenaflor, Murray, Coulibaly, Nimpson, and Chan are charged with conspiring to obstruct a federal investigation by altering, destroying, concealing, and falsifying records in MEBH files.

Defendant Miriam Coulibaly is also charged with making a false statement to federal agents by lying about her participation in efforts to fabricate records to show visits to families that had not occurred.

If convicted of all charges, Kamuvaka, Manamela, McNeill, and Buenaflor face 78 to 97 months in prison. Murray, Nimpson, Chan, and Coulibaly face 37 to 57. Burch faces 15 to 21 months in prison.

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