The indictment did not list the names of the companies operated by the managers, but state licensing records show that Ocean Home Health of Portland and Kennebec Home Health of Augusta were owned by Alkinani and Saesah, respectively. The managers of those facilities could not immediately be reached for comment.
The indictment alleges the managers agreed to pay workers $15 to $16 per hour and pressured other home health agency operators to do so as well, threatening to report the other managers to MaineCare, Maine’s Medicaid program. In March 2020, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services increased the reimbursement rate for home health agencies from $20.52 per hour to $26.20 per hour to allow them to give workers raises, the indictment notes.
“Early in the pandemic, Maine made additional resources available to ensure that seniors continued to receive in-home care and that essential workers would be able to afford personal protective equipment,” U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee for the District of Maine said in a news release.
The charges against the four home health managers are part of a larger investigation into wage fixing in the home healthcare industry by the Justice Department.
The maximum penalty for conspiracy to restrain trade is 10 years in jail and a $1 million fine, which can be increased based on the financial gains and losses caused by the crime, the indictment said.