A federal judge today sentenced Mickal Kamuvaka to 17 and a half years in prison on health-care fraud and conspiracy charges stemming from the death of 14-year-old Danieal Kelly.
Kelly had cerebral palsy and died of bedsores and malnutrition at her mother's Philadelphia apartment in 2006 while she was supposed to be under the care of Kamuvaka's agency.
"There is no evidence that, even to this day, the defendant appreciates the enormity of her crime," said U.S. District Court Judge Stewart Dalzell.
Kamuvaka was the day-to-day manager of the now-defunct MultiEthnic Behavioral Health Inc., which the city hired to oversee Kelly and hundreds of other at-risk youths from 2000 through 2006.
Dalzell said the award of the contract smacked of "patronage," and denounced the city's Department of Health and Human Services, which gave MultiEthnic advance notice of city audits.
That allowed MultiEthnic time to fabricate fake reports to make it appear social workers were visiting clients, when in fact they were not, said Dalzell.
"It's laughable to say there was an audit...if there had been a single suprise audit this would have been detected," Dalzell said of the agency's systematic fraud. "It was easy to detect, but nobody bothered to try."
Kelly's death, and the subsequent investigations, prompted state, city and federal investigations and an overhaul of DHS practices.
A immigrant from Southwest Africa, now Namibia, Kamuvaka , 61, obtained a doctorate in social work from the University of Pennsylvania in the 1980s.
She stood impassively during sentencing and declined an opportunity to address the judge.
A MultiEthnic co-founder, she still faces a city charge of involuntary manslaughter, as does caseworker Julius Juma Murray, 52, who was assigned to the Kelly family and was convicted with Kamuvaka.
Another agency co-founder, Solomon Manamela, is scheduled to be sentenced by Dalzell later today.
Murray will be sentenced Friday.
The federal investigation started after William McDonald, a criminal investigator from the federal Department of Health and Human Services, read a lengthy article in The Inquirer about Kelly's death.
The city used federal funding to have MultiEthnic provide in-home care for the teen and other at-risk children.