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JHE Ex-Employee Pleads Guilty

A former employee of the Jewish Home for the Elderly pleaded guilty on May 7 before Senior U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to one count of submitting false claims to Medicare and Medicaid. Stacey Lee Williams, 38, of Wallingford, faces a maximum term of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when she is sentenced on July 26.

David B. Fein, U.S. attorney for Connecticut, also announced that the Jewish Home has entered into a civil settlement agreement with the government in which it agreed to pay $28,542 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting claims to Medicare and Medicaid for services provided by Williams. The Jewish Home failed to check the government online exclusion database before hiring the woman.

On Feb. 1, 2007, while a resident of Arizona, Williams pleaded guilty to one felony count of forgery and was sentenced to two years probation and 30 hours of community service.  On Oct. 22, 2007, when applying for a renewal of her LPN license in the state of Connecticut, Williams checked “no” when asked if she had been convicted in the last year of a felony. Based in part on this false representation, her Connecticut license was renewed.

On June 3, 2008, Williams began working at Soundview Healthcare and Rehabilitation, a skilled nursing facility in West Haven that accepts payment from Medicare and Medicaid. On her employment application, she used a false Social Security number and again claimed that she had no felony convictions.

On Dec. 18, 2008, Williams applied to Jewish Home for the Elderly, a skilled nursing facility in Fairfield that receives funding from Medicare and Medicaid. In her application, she again falsely claimed to have no felony convictions. She was hired as a full-time employee on Feb. 9, 2009, and worked there for approximately five months. During her employment, Williams never disclosed that she had been excluded by the Department of Health and Human Services, which caused the facility to submit claims to Medicare and Medicaid that were not disallowed.

To resolve its liability under the False Claims Act, the Jewish Home has agreed to pay damages on the portion of Williams’ salary attributable to federal health care programs. The False Claims Act provides for triple damages and penalties of $5,500 to $11,000 per false claim submitted to the government.

The Jewish Home also agreed to enter into a certification program promising it has established policies and procedures to check both prospective and current employees to ensure that they have not been excluded from federal healthcare programs. In entering into the civil settlement agreement, the Jewish Home did not admit liability.

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