Attorney General Schneiderman Announces Sentencing Of Broome County Resident For Bilking Medicaid For Over $50,000
Sentencing Follows the Launch of Major AG Initiative to Bolster Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and Protect Taxpayers
BINGHAMTON - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the sentencing of Mary Bidwell, 62 of Binghamton, for her role in defrauding the Medicaid program of more than $59,000 in false billings she claimed were provided by her daughter, Amy Rivera. The sentencing comes on the heels of Attorney General Schneiderman's major new initiatives to bolster his office's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and create a Taxpayer Protection Bureau to increase fraud recoveries during a period of fiscal crisis.
"As I said when we unveiled our new Taxpayer Protection Bureau, this office will leave no stone unturned in the quest to save money for taxpayers by rooting out waste, fraud, and corruption wherever we find it," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "This case, like so many others our office is prosecuting, is another example of how New York State taxpayers are being short-changed by individuals conspiring to commit fraud and bill Medicaid for services not actually rendered to the Medicaid recipient. Today's sentencing sends a clear message that this is unacceptable, and we will work every day to ensure those who cheat the taxpayers are caught and forced to pay for their crimes."
Bidwell's son, a 20-year old disabled Medicaid recipient residing in Binghamton with Bidwell, qualified for personal care services to be provided through the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP). CDPAP is a program that permits disabled Medicaid recipients to hire and train their own personal care assistants. The assistants cannot be a spouse or parent.
Bidwell hired her daughter (Amy Rivera) to provide the Medicaid services to her disabled son. The Medicaid payments were handled through the Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC). The Attorney General's investigation revealed that in order to receive payment from Medicaid, Bidwell forged her daughter's signature on timesheets, which were then submitted to STIC, who in turn billed the Medicaid program. Rivera, 32, was paid by Medicaid for more than 3,100 fraudulently billed hours over a two year period.
STIC was responsible for ensuring that these personal care services were provided but failed to act when they received a notice from Rivera, the designated personal care assistant, that she was moving to Oklahoma. STIC has made the restitution to the Medicaid program.
Bidwell pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny and was sentenced to a three year conditional discharge by the Honorable Joseph F. Cawley, Broome County Court Judge.
Rivera has not been charged in this case. She was arrested on unrelated charges in June 2009 in Oklahoma and was sentenced on March 11, 2010 to a 10 year prison term for the crime of Procuring a Child for Lewdness or other Indecent Acts.
This case was prosecuted by Regional Director Ralph Tortora of the MFCU Syracuse office, under the supervision of Monica J. Hickey-Martin, First Assistant Attorney General for Legal Affairs. Sabrina Stagnitta, Associate Special Auditor/Investigator and Special Investigator Christopher J. Reidy also worked on the case.