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Post date: June 11 2007

3 Rochester Health Care Workers Charged With False Billing For Phantom Work

ALBANY, NY (June 11, 2007) – Attorney General Andrew Cuomo today announced the arrests of two Rochester area health care workers who stole from taxpayers by submitting false timesheets for work they never performed. A third health care worker who was paid over $12,000 by a nursing home for hours she did not work was also charged.

“Whether it is false billing, prescription fraud or illegitimate timesheets: it is theft – plain and simple,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “And my office is focused on prosecuting fraud of all types. Individuals who steal from the Medicaid program or facilities receiving Medicaid funds and fail to perform needed services are a disgrace. My office will ensure they face justice.”

Talya Jones, 30, of Congress Ave. in Rochester, a licensed practical nurse, was accused of falsely billing Medicaid for having provided private duty nursing services for young adults and a child that she never performed. As a result, she is alleged to have received $18,009.46 in Medicaid funds to which she was not entitled.

Arrelia Beard, 31, of Clifford Ave. in Rochester, a home and community support specialist, allegedly submitted phony time sheets to Flower City Health Care Services for services to patients with traumatic brain injuries that were not provided. During those times, Beard was actually working as a medical secretary at Highland Hospital. Based upon the false time sheets, Medicaid paid Flower City Health Care $9,606, which in turn paid Beard $4,780 in wages for services never performed.

Jones and Beard were both arraigned in Rochester City Court by Judge Thomas R. Morse, charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a class D felony). If convicted, they each could receive 2 1/3-to-7 years in prison.

Pamela Fulton, 32, of Lake Ave. in Rochester, a licensed practical nurse, was also charged with larceny for her involvement in a time card scheme at the Westgate Nursing Home. In the scheme, employees punched each other’s time cards to receive pay for hours not worked. Between January and July 2005, Fulton was paid $12,811 by Westgate Nursing Home for hours when she was not actually present at the facility. Seven other former employees have already been convicted in prosecutions brought by Attorney General Cuomo’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Fulton was arraigned before Judge Thomas Pisaturo in Town of Gates Justice Court, charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Special Assistant Attorney General Timothy McFarland of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s Rochester Regional Office is prosecuting the three cases. The cases were investigated by Supervising Special Investigator Neil Davis and Senior Special Investigators William Falk and Arthur Vasile, along with Principal Special Auditor/Investigator Thomas Clarke, Associate Special Auditor/Investigator Michael Warfield and Special Auditor/Investigator Melissa Tulip.