NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement Wednesday with the estate of a late nursing home owner who allegedly paid kickbacks to a social worker to steer patients to her facility.
Helen Sieger, the owner of Kingsbridge Heights Rehabilitation and Care Center Inc., allegedly paid thousands of dollars to Frank Rivera, a former social work assistant at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, to refer patients to the facility. Sieger jumped bail after she was arrested in 2009 and she was later located and returned to New York in August 2010. Sieger passed away in April 2011.
The agreement with Sieger's estate will return $2,502,963.74 to the New York State Medicaid program.
"Our state's Medicaid system is a critical resource for all New Yorkers, and in particular for our most vulnerable elderly citizens," Schneiderman said. "My office is determined to protect taxpayer money from criminal schemes, and there are few programs as sacred as the Medicaid system that provides for our senior citizens. Those who steal from the elderly deserve to be prosecuted and the stolen funds fully restored."
The settlement figure includes approximately $1.3 million in damages paid to the state.
Following his arrest, Rivera pleaded guilty to felony and misdemeanor violations of the New York Social Services Law's anti-kickback provisions. Rivera's sentencing is pending.