LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Attorney General Eliot Spitzer annou…

LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced today that a Rocky Point registered nurse, who was paid to provide home health care to a severely disabled young girl, was sentenced to perform 840 hours of community service and five years probation for her role in stealing more than $58,000 from New York taxpayers by billing Medicaid for services she never provided or had previously been paid for. Registered Nurse Trudy Vosper, 65, of Rocky Point, was sentenced on January 27, 2006, by Suffolk County Court Judge C. Randall Hinrichs following her guilty plea in November of 2005, to the felony crime of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree. In addition, Vosper was ordered to pay restitution to the state in the amount of $58,337. Vosper will also be referred to the State Education Department’s Office of the Professions for a review of her nursing license.

Vosper admitted that between October 1, 1998, and December 31, 2003, she was assigned to care for the disabled daughter of co-defendant Yolande Mezil-Thomas, who was approved to receive 19 hours of skilled home-care nursing services a day, seven days a week. Vosper, with Mezil- Thomas’s assistance, submitted numerous claims to Medicaid in which she knowingly overstated the extent of home care services provided to Mezil-Thomas’s child, including times when Vosper was out of town in Florida, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, as well as during times when she was occupied receiving massage therapy. After payment came from New York State, Vosper and Mezil-Thomas shared over $35,000 in fraudulent Medicaid proceeds. In attempting to cover up the fraud, Vosper also made false entries in her daily nursing notes.

In addition, Vosper admitted to stealing an additional $22,000 from Medicaid by submitting claims to Medicaid which represented that the child had no other insurance, when the girl was in fact insured by the private insurance carrier Health Insurance Plan of New York (HIP). By doing this, Vosper succeeded in being paid twice for the same services.

The patient at the center of this fraud has been a Medicaid recipient since her premature birth nine years ago, and required extensive skilled nursing care.

“When a Medicaid provider commits fraud they are stealing from a program designed to assist those truly in need and presenting the taxpayers with a bogus bill,” said Spitzer. “Those who criminally game and manipulate the system will be prosecuted and punished.”

Attorney General Spitzer thanked the Suffolk County office of the Department of Social Services and the Health Insurance Plan of New York for their assistance and cooperation during the course of the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Lara Merchan of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s Long Island Regional Office. Assisting in the investigation were Special Investigator Dawn Scandaliato and Special Auditor Investigator Mary Ann Carney.

The Attorney General maintains a toll-free tip-line for aid in his fight against Medicaid fraud.

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