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Four Women Nabbed In $35K Fairfield County Substance Abuse Kickback Scheme

Joyce Anne Walker, 37 Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police
Nikkita Chesney, 45 Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police
Merlisia Bennett, 59 Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police
Rachel Lawrence, 69 Photo Credit: Connecticut State Troopers

Four women were arrested by Connecticut State Police for taking part in a Fairfield County substance abuse kickback scheme that netted them $35K.

An investigation into the scheme began in November 2017 after the state police Major Crime Squad received information of the suspected misuse of state funds within a substance abuse treatment program called Access to Recovery, state police said.

The program is funded by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and is run through Advanced Behavioral Health, a non-profit company.

According to state police, the scheme was uncovered after a person complained that one of the caseworkers, Nikkita Chesney, 45, of Bridgeport, said she would promise clients cash in return for requesting day care services, a benefit offered through Access to Recovery.

In order to make the clients appear eligible, she would forge numerous documents with the help of several other individuals to pull off the scheme, including other ATR clients and two home daycare providers in Bridgeport, police said.

In all, the group received a total of $35,197 in funds from Access to Recovery, state police said.

Those arrested included:

  • Chesney, who was charged with larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny, forgery, and conspiracy to commit forgery.
  • Merlisia Bennett, 59, of Bridgeport. She was charged with larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny, forgery, and conspiracy to commit forgery.
  • Joyce Anne Walker, 37,  of Bridgeport. She was charged with larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny, forgery, and conspiracy to commit forgery.

They were all released on $50,000 bond.

  • Rachel Lawrence, 69, of Bridgeport. She was charged with larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny. She was released on $25,000 bond.

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