Attorney General Cuomo Secures Guilty Plea From Rome Corrections Officer Who Filed False Medical Leave Forms

ROME, N.Y. (March 24, 2008) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the guilty plea of a Rome corrections officer who attempted to obtain more than $2,000 in Worker’s Compensation benefits by submitting false medical leave forms with the alleged forged signature of a doctor.

“New York’s Worker’s Compensation program provides critical support to those who find themselves temporarily unable to earn a living,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Submitting false records is a crime that is an affront to taxpayers and those who legitimately rely on the program. My commitment to restoring public integrity in state government includes ensuring that those who attempt to defraud the Worker’s Compensation program face justice.”

Robert Centore, 42, of Doxtator Rd. in Durhamville, was a corrections officer at Rome’s Mohawk Correctional Facility. He pleaded guilty today before Judge John C. Gannon in Rome City Court to Attempted Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the 1st Degree, a misdemeanor. As part of the plea, Centore resigned from his position and agreed to not seek employment with any law enforcement agency in New York state. He was under suspension since his arrest January 21.

According to the charges, on March 20 and 29 of last year, Centore filed two medical leave forms claiming he was injured on the job and unable to work from February 16 to March 5. The leave forms allegedly had the forged signature of a doctor, who, as uncovered during the investigation, did not diagnose Centore or sign the forms. By filing the forms, Centore sought $2,036.44 in wage replacement benefits through Workers Compensation insurance that he was not entitled to receive. Centore’s claim was discovered to be untrue before any benefits were paid.

The Attorney General’s prosecution is the result of an investigation by the New York State Insurance Department Frauds Bureau, the Workers Compensation Board Office of Inspector General and the Department of Corrections.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Heffner under the supervision of Special Deputy Attorney General for Public Integrity Ellen Nachtigall Biben. The investigation was assisted by Sr. Investigator of the New York State Insurance Department Frauds Bureau Thomas F. Hurley, Jr. and Sr. Investigator of the New York State Insurance Fund David Scharoun.