A nonprofit caseworker from Elmont, who worked with troubled teens, was arrested Thursday on felony charges in connection with the theft of more than $25,000 in Medicaid funds, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
Christopher Finley, 32, was arrested by Nassau County district attorney investigators early Thursday morning and charged with third-degree health care fraud and first-degree falsifying business records.
Prosecutors said Finley was employed as an individual care coordinator with a Mineola-based nonprofit organization, Family and Children’s Association. In his job capacity, Finley worked with teenagers who suffer from behavior issues and was assigned to try to resolve issues they may have at home. As part of his job, Finley was required to make six home visits per month to each of the six children under his care, prosecutors said. Finley’s services are covered by Medicaid, the teens’ health insurance.
Prosecutors allege that between October 2010 and April 2011, “Finley submitted false treatment notes to FCA 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.” Relying on the false notes, the nonprofit group billed Medicaid for Finley’s claimed work and subsequently, Medicaid paid $25,580.42 for services that were not rendered, according to the DA.
During a routine audit by Medicaid staff, the agency discovered the falsified treatment notes and related Medicaid billing, said prosecutors. The nonprofit repaid the money to Medicaid and conducted an internal investigation. The case was later referred to the Nassau County District Attorney for criminal prosecution.
“It’s unconscionable that this defendant would so brazenly abandon these kids. These families trusted Christopher Finely 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,” Rice said.
Finley was conditionally released to the custody of the Nassau County probation department after his arraignment Thursday at First District Court in Hempstead. He is due back in a Mineola courtroom on April 22 to face the charges. His attorney, Jeffrey Mueller, could not be reached for comment.
If convicted, Finley faces up to seven years in prison.