DA: Caseworker stole $25,000 in Medicaid by lying about care
A caseworker for a nonprofit was arrested Thursday and charged with stealing more than $25,000 in Medicaid by submitting paperwork that falsely claimed he had met with troubled teenagers, prosecutors said.
Christopher Finley, 32, of Elmont, was arrested by Nassau County district attorney investigators and charged with third-degree health care fraud and first-degree falsifying business records, prosecutors said.
He faces up to 7 years in prison if convicted, and is scheduled to be arraigned later Thursday in First District Court, Hempstead.
His lawyer, Jeffrey Mueller, of Manhattan, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Prosecutors said Finley worked as an individual care coordinator with Family and Children's Association, a nonprofit agency based in Mineola.
Finley's job was to work with teenagers with behavioral issues, prosecutors said. The goal is to keep the teens living at home and avoiding institutionalization. As part of his job, Finley was required to make six home visits per month to each of the six children under his care. Finley's services are covered by Medicaid, the teens' health insurance, prosecutors said.
Between October 2010 and April 2011, Finley submitted false treatment notes to his agency showing that he made the required six home visits per month, when in fact, he visited the families two or three times a month, and sometimes not at all, prosecutors said. Relying on these false notes, the agency billed Medicaid for Finley's claimed work and Medicaid paid $25,580.42 for services that he had not provided.
The agency discovered the falsified treatment notes and related Medicaid billing during a routine audit. They repaid the money and referred the case to Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice for criminal prosecution after completing an internal investigation.
"It's unconscionable that this defendant would so brazenly abandon these kids," Rice said. "These families trusted Christopher Finley to help their children overcome serious obstacles and fulfill their potential, but all he cared about was how much money he could steal from the taxpayers."