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Post date: July 13 2001

Long Island Nurse Submits Phony Timesheets In $125,000 Home Health Care Fraud

Attorney General Spitzer today announced the arrest of a licensed practical nurse for stealing more than $125,000 by billing Medicaid for thousands of hours of home health care services that she never provided to a severely disabled Great Neck teenager.

Joann Taylor, 46, of 24 Mahopac Road in West Hempstead, was arraigned today in Nassau County Court before Judge Jerald Carter on a seven-count indictment, charging her with one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, one count of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and five counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

Spitzer said, "Although Taylor's caring of the patient ended in 1998, she brazenly continued to charge taxpayers for the next two years by falsely claiming that she was providing him with nursing services day in and day out. In fact, even after the patient and his family moved to a new home, the defendant not only had never been there but, in all likelihood, did not even know the move had taken place."

According to prosecutors, in 1998, Taylor was assigned to provide primary nursing care to a 13-year-old Medicaid recipient, who had sustained permanent and extensive brain damage as a result of a near-drowning years earlier. A few months later, the recipient's family stopped using Taylor's services and began using other nursing providers.

However, beginning on December 7, 1998, and continuing through December 17, 2000, Taylor fraudulently submitted numerous reimbursement claims to the Medicaid program, falsely claiming that, except for three days, she had cared for the boy every day during this period. As a result of these false billings, Taylor improperly received more than $125,000 in Medicaid funds.

The defendant was also charged with attempting to steal another $5,184 from Medicaid between December 2000 and January 2001 by billing for additional services allegedly provided to the recipient.

Spitzer thanked the State Health Department's Bureau of Enforcement Activities for referring the matter to his office.

The Attorney General's Office will refer the matter to the State Education Department's Office of the Professions for a review of Taylor's nursing license.

Special Assistant Attorney General Lara Goroway, of the Long Island Regional Office of the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, is prosecuting the case. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.

The charges against Taylor are accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.