A.G. Schneiderman Announces Guilty Plea Of Former Nursing Home Employee Charged With Stealing From Patient Funds Account

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Guilty Plea Of Former Nursing Home Employee Charged With Stealing From Patient Funds Account

HUDSON – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced today the guilty plea of Claire Wieland, 28, of White Plains, to one count of the crime of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a Class D felony in satisfaction of an indictment charging multiple counts of possession of a forged instrument and grand larceny.  In front of Columbia County Court Judge Richard M. Koweek, Wieland admitted that on various occasions between April 24, 2013 and February 6, 2014, while employed as a receptionist at the Livingston Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation Center located on Route 9 in the Town of Livingston, in Columbia County, she knowingly possessed multiple checks, drawn on the Livingston Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Patient Funds Account, that bore the forged endorsements of the payees on the check. Wieland also admitted that during the same period, she cashed the checks bearing the forged endorsements and kept the proceeds. 

“Nursing home residents across New York State entrust financial control to those who are trained and paid to care for them, and those staff members must honor that trust,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “We will not tolerate those who seek to exploit nursing home residents for personal financial gain.”

A resident trust account is maintained at all nursing homes for the benefit of their residents. These personal funds are kept in a single account, as they were held at a bank. Individual records are kept for the benefit of each resident, and a small amount of cash is kept on-hand at the facility for daily resident use.  As the receptionist at the nursing home, Wieland was responsible for submitting requests to have checks drawn for residents who requested funds.

As part of her plea agreement, Wieland will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed one to three years.  The defendant paid restitution in the amount of $11,600 at the time of her guilty plea. Sentencing is set for June 20, 2016.

This case was investigated by Special Investigators J.R. Benshoff and Danette Benson with the assistance of Medical Analyst Stephanie Keyser, Investigator Dianne Tuffey, and Deputy Chief Investigator William Falk, and Associate Special Auditor/Investigator Cheryl Kaczor of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), Albany Regional Office with the assistance of Regional Chief Auditor Investigator Charles Norfleet Jr. and Principal Special Auditor Investigator Michael LaCasse.  The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Paul A. Clyne.  Kathleen A. Boland is Regional Director of the Albany Regional Office.  Catherine Wagner is MFCU’s Chief of Criminal Investigations – Upstate.  MFCU is led by Director Amy Held and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul Mahoney.  The Criminal Justice Division is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.