Upstate Nurse Aide Convicted Of Resident Neglect And Record Falsification

March 28, 2007 – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the conviction of a Cortland certified nurse aide for neglecting a rehabilitation and extended care center resident and falsifying the business records of the facility. This was the first New York State prosecution to go to trial involving evidence produced by a hidden video surveillance camera in a nursing home resident’s room.

After six hours of deliberation on March 26, a Cortland County jury convicted Steven Nadeau, 39, of Cortland, of 12 counts of Willful Violation of the Health Laws and 8 counts of Falsifying Business Records in Second Degree (all misdemeanors). Nadeau faces up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Judge Julie Campbell presided over the six-day trial and set post-verdict motion arguments for May 10. 

Nadeau was a nurse aide at the Northwoods Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility of Cortland from August 2001 to July 2006. From January 25 to March 10, 2005, the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, acting with the consent of the resident’s family, used an undercover camera in the resident’s room to monitor treatment provided within the home. The surveillance captured Nadeau neglecting a 59-year-old male resident of the facility – a total-care patient in a chronic vegetative state – by failing on various dates to provide him with range-of-motion therapy, turning and positioning, and oral care. In one instance, Nadeau left the resident in his own fecal matter for over an hour and 15 minutes. Nadeau also falsified nurse aide flow sheets by indicating he had provided this care when he had not.

The surveillance used at Northwoods has also led to pending prosecution against three nurses, Renee Fulmer, Theresa Loy and Mary Kenyon; another certified nurse aide, Judy Abreu-Boswell; and the owner of the facility, Highgate LTC Management, LLC.

While Nadeau’s case was the first of its kind to go to trial, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s use of nursing home video surveillance to expose abuse, neglect and fraud has led to nine guilty pleas and the arrest of numerous individuals across the state. At Rochester’s Jennifer Matthew Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, 14 employees were arrested and four nurses and five nurse aides pleaded guilty to neglect and falsification charges. A civil lawsuit filed against the facility and its owners is pending. At Hollis Park Manor in Queens County, 10 individuals have neglect charges pending, including the medical director, three nurses and six certified nurse aides.

“Facilities like Northwoods exist to care for our loved ones when they can no longer care for themselves,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “When those we trust to care for these patients instead neglect them and try to cover their tracks, my office won’t hesitate to prosecute each of these cases to the fullest extent of the law.”

Special Assistant Attorney General Ralph D. Tortora, III, prosecuted the Nadeau case. The following investigators from the Attorney General’s Office assisted in the investigation: Supervising Special Investigator Michael J. Brady, Special Investigator Christopher M. Burns, Principal Special Auditor/Investigator Paul V. DeMartino, Medical Analyst Tina M. Dentino, Senior Special Investigator Patrick M. Lynch, and Senior Special Investigator Michael J. Ostuni.