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Post date: January 25 2001

Steuben County Nurse Admits To Stealing More Than $100,000 From Taxpayers Through Illegal Nursing Agency

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that a licensed practical nurse (LPN) who ran an illegal private duty nursing service out of her Steuben County home has admitted to stealing more than $100,000 from taxpayers through the Medicaid program. In carrying out her scheme, the LPN subcontracted home health care work to nurses who were not Medicaid providers and, in one case, had just been released from federal prison.

Appearing yesterday in Steuben County Court before Judge Marianne Furfure, Ann Weaver Filkins, the owner of Tender Heart Care in Pulteney, pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and agreed to make $101,532 in restitution. Sentencing was set for March 12th, at which time Filkins faces up to four years in prison.

Spitzer said, "Filkins ran an unsanctioned agency that sent nurses into the homes of many unsuspecting families and then billed Medicaid as if she had provided the services. This investigation and prosecution by my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit drives home our message: If you are stealing from State taxpayers, we will find you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law."

From November 1997 to July 1999, Filkins submitted numerous reimbursement claims that falsely stated she had provided private duty nursing services to various Medicaid patients when, in fact, the services were provided by other nurses who were not qualified to participate in the Medicaid program. As a result, Filkins was paid more than $100,000 to which she was not entitled.

In a related case, Linda Woodworth, one of the nurses hired by Filkins, pleaded guilty before Judge Furfure two months ago to Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree for having lied on her Medicaid provider application when asked if she had ever been convicted of a crime. In fact, Woodworth had numerous larceny convictions, and, at the time, was on federal probation after serving five months in prison for having illegally cashed her deceased mother’s social security checks. As part of her plea, Woodworth agreed to pay back $57,578 to the Medicaid program.

Sentencing was set for February 26th, at which time Judge Furfure indicated she would sentence Woodworth to one year in jail, concurrent with any prison sentence she may receive for having violated her federal probation. Woodworth is presently facing a possible seven to fourteen month federal prison sentence for probation violation.

The Attorney General thanked the Office of Steuben County District Attorney John C. Tunney for its cooperation during the course of the investigation.

Ann Weaver Filkins, 34, lives at 9053 Main Street in Pulteney, New York.

Linda Woodworth, 50, lives at 113 East Washington Street in Bath, New York. Woodworth, who worked for Tender Heart Care from April 1998 to December 1998, was incarcerated in federal prison for five months and resumed working at Tender Heart Care upon her release in April 1999.

Special Assistant Attorney General Timothy McFarland, of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, prosecuted the Filkins and Woodworth cases. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General José Maldonado.