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May 16. 2008

 

Audits Result in Convictions of Two Charged With Bilking State of Millions of Dollars, Using Unlicensed Nurses to Provide Health Care Across NYS

A husband and wife team were convicted on charges they illegally billed the state $3.2 million when they provided health care services using unlicensed nurses. The charges, brought by State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, were the result of audits conducted by the state Comptroller’s office. The now defunct Hurtig Evans International, Inc. (HEI) illegally supplied 50 unlicensed registered nurses to the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD), and the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

“Health care is expensive enough without unscrupulous people trying to defraud the taxpayers,” said Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “And putting patients in the hands of unqualified healthcare workers is worse than fraud. Anyone who’s contemplating or engaged in fraud against the state should understand there’s a price to pay. My auditors will find them, and the Attorney General will prosecute them.”

The findings of DiNapoli’s audit were referred to Cuomo for investigation, and Anisha and Philip Casimir pleaded guilty to grand larceny. The pair face prison time and supervised probation. They were ordered to pay the state $200,000 in restitution.

Auditors identified fraudulent payments for unlicensed, purported “registered nurses” on three contracts at OMRDD and one contract at OASAS. The audit covered the period from January 2002 to February 2006, and centered on payments made to HEI under these contracts totaling $4.2 million.

HEI provided OMRDD’s Metro New York Developmental Disabilities Service Office and Hudson Valley Developmental Disabilities Service Office with 43 “registered nurses” who were unlicensed. HEI also provided OASAS for 39 unlicensed nurses. (Some nurses provided services at both agencies.) Of the $4.2 million, the agencies paid HEI over $3.2 million for nursing services from unlicensed nurses.

OMRDD and OASAS agreed with the audits' recommendations to establish and enforce procedures to verify nurses are properly licensed prior to performing services, and both agencies have taken corrective action.

Click here for a copy of the OMRDD audit.

Click here for a copy of the OASAS audit.

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