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Pittsfield Teen Accosted On Elm Street

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are looking for a man who accosted a 17-year-old girl on Elm Street on Monday afternoon.
 
Police say the teenager was approached by the suspect shortly after 2 p.m. in the area on Elm between Ontario Street and Elmhurst Avenue. The girl was not injured.
 
Police are looking for a man described at being white with brown hair, in his late 20s, having a medium build, standing between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8 and being either slightly bald or having or crew cut. He was wearing a blue hooded sweat shirt and tan colored pants. He was last seen running onto Putnam Avenue.
 
Anyone who witnessed it or has information is asked to contact the detective bureau at 413-448-9705 or tips can be made anonymously through the drug tips hotline at 413-448-9708 or texting PITTIP and the message to 847411.
     

Pittsfield Man Pleads Guilty to MassHealth Fraud

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Pittsfield man has pleaded guilty and been sentenced in connection with making duplicative claims for personal care services, resulting in an overpayment of approximately $82,000 in funds from the state's Medicaid Program (MassHealth), $46,500 of which was paid directly to him, Attorney General Maura Healey announced on Monday.

Frederick Phillips, 56, pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court to charges of Medicaid fraud and larceny more than $250 by false pretenses.

"This defendant defrauded a system that provides vital health-care services to people with chronic or long-term disabilities," Healey said in a statement. "He took advantage of his role as caretaker for his brother to steal taxpayer dollars and divert critical resources from people in need."

After the plea was entered, Superior Court Judge John Agostini sentenced Phillips to two years in the Berkshire County House of Corrections, suspended for a probationary period of three years. During the that period, Phillips must refrain from illegal drug use, enter substance abuse counseling, and is prohibited from being a MassHealth provider.

The attorney general's investigation revealed that between March 2011 and November 2013, Phillips submitted fraudulent information to MassHealth's Adult Foster Care Program. Phillips, the AFC caretaker for his brother, billed MassHealth for AFC services knowing that his brother was receiving duplicative Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program services at the same time.

MassHealth funds both programs, allowing members with chronic or long-term disabilities to live independently and remain in their communities. In both programs, caretakers assist with daily living activities such as taking medications, dressing, going to the bathroom and bathing. Under AFC regulation, MassHealth will not pay for AFC services if a member is receiving PCA services at the same time.

A Berkshire County Grand Jury returned indictments against Phillips in February 2016.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Evelyn Y. Tang of AG Healey's Medicaid Fraud Division and investigated by Investigators April Waterhouse and Michael Russo, also of the Medicaid Fraud Division. The Boston office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General assisted with the investigation.

     

Teen in Critical Condition Following Pittsfield Shooting

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A 17-year-old is in critical condition following a Friday night shooting.
 
Police did not identify the male victim but said officers responded to shots being fired in the area of 391 North St. - the address of Methuselah Bar and Lounge - Friday night at 11:28 p.m. Upon arrival, police found the victim with a single gunshot wound to the torso.
 
The 17-year-old is believed to in be stable but critical condition, police said Monday.
 
The shooting is being investigated by the detective bureau, along with assistance form crime scene services and the drug unit. Anyone with information is asked to contact the department at 413-448-9700 or through the drug tips hotline - 413-448-9708 - or texting 847411.
     

Pittsfield Police Bringing Charges in 'G' Vandalism Case

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police believe they have nabbed the vandal who's been spray painting the letter "G" all over the city.

Lt. Gary Traversa reported on Monday that nine counts of vandalism will be filed against one George O'Neil, 38, of  Lincoln Street.

The department's been investigating the appearance of the mysterious "Gs" painted on numerous road signs, utility boxes, bridges, and both public and private buildings throughout the city since early September. It was not believed to be related in any way to gang activity and police were sure it was one person doing the tagging.

The majority of the vandalism had not been directly reported to the Police Department by property owners. But police, working those who did, and information provided by citizens "familiar with the suspect" led the pending criminal charges.

The reason for the Gs, other than a possible initial, is still unknown.

     

Police Warn of 'Bail Money' Phone Scam

RICHMOND, Mass. — Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless says some Berkshire County residents are being victimized by a telephone scam.  

Over the past several days, the State Police Barracks in Lee has investigated several incidents in Richmond involving telephone fraud. In this scheme, the caller claims to be a relative, says they have been arrested and asks the person answering the call to send bail money. In many instances, the caller has accurate personal information about the person being called as well as information about the family member they are impersonating, information which is easily obtained on the internet.  

The victim is then asked to send cash, buy gift cards or iTune cards and to send them to a specific location so their loved one can be released from police custody.  

Police are urging anyone who receives a call of this type to be suspicious and to report any such call to the state police or local police department immediately. Investigators warn against sending cash or gift cards through the mail as this is a phone scam.

     
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