Sentencing In "Hidden Camera" Nursing Home Investigation

March 7, 2011 Updated Mar 7, 2011 at 6:45 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Sentencing In "Hidden Camera" Nursing Home Investigation

March 7, 2011 Updated Mar 7, 2011 at 6:45 PM EDT


BUFFALO –( release) Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the sentencing of a former employee of the Williamsville Suburban Nursing Home in Amherst who pleaded guilty last December to falsifying records to conceal the neglect of a resident.
Deborah Groth, 61, of Buffalo, was sentenced today by Erie County Supreme Court Judge Penny M. Wolfgang to a three-year conditional discharge and 50 hours of community service. Groth, a former Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), had previously pleaded guilty on December 14, 2010 to three counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, for falsifying a resident’s records to demonstrate that she had administered an injection of insulin, taken and recorded the resident’s vital signs, and applied skin treatment when footage from a hidden surveillance camera revealed that she did not perform these procedures at all. As a result of these court proceedings, Groth surrendered her LPN license. Groth was also required to give a DNA sample and pay a mandatory surcharge of $300 and a $25 victim impact fee.

“This office will leave no stone unturned in the quest to ensure that patients in nursing homes across the state are treated with dignity and receive the healthcare they deserve,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “In this case, a patient at the Williamsville Nursing Home was the victim of an employee who falsified records which could have ultimately compromised the patient's health. This is unacceptable, and we will work every day to ensure that those who try to cheat the system are caught and forced to pay for their crimes.”

In addition, several other former employees of the facility who were arrested along with Groth as a result of the Attorney General’s undercover surveillance video operation have had their cases adjudicated in the Town of Amherst Court before the Hon. Geoffrey K. Klein.

Former Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Linda G. Banks, 55, of Buffalo was sentenced on January 6, 2011 to a one-year conditional discharge, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and ordered to submit a DNA sample to the State of New York after pleading guilty to two counts of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person and two counts of Willful Violation of Health Laws (neglect) for improperly transferring the resident in and out of bed using a mechanical lift. Banks surrendered her CNA certificate.

Former CNA Leslie Thompson, 62, of Buffalo was sentenced on January 26, 2011 to a one-year conditional discharge after pleading guilty to two counts of Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree for failing to perform range of motion exercises on the resident and then documenting the records as if she did. Thompson signed an affidavit surrendering her CNA certificate.
Former LPN Terri Brown, 38, of Buffalo, was sentenced on March 2, 2011 to a one-year conditional discharge after pleading guilty to three counts of Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree for failing to provide skin treatments for the resident and then documenting the records as if she did. She surrendered her LPN license.

Two other CNAs, Willena Bell, 49, of Buffalo, and Diane Handley, 48, of Buffalo, each pleaded guilty on March 2, 2011 to one count of Willful Violation of Health Laws (neglect) for improperly transferring the resident in and out of bed using a mechanical lift. They are due to be sentenced on May 18, 2011.

Finally, criminal cases against the remaining two CNAs, Tweneboa Saow, 53, of Buffalo, and Laquita Jones, 26, of Buffalo are currently pending in court.

This case is part of Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit's (MFCU) ongoing nursing home initiative to ensure patients are receiving the care they deserve. It is being prosecuted by Thomas N. Schleif, Special Assistant Attorney General, under the supervision of Gary A. Baldauf, MFCU Buffalo Regional Director, assisted by Kathleen Donahue, Supervising Special Investigator, James Zablonski, Special Investigator, Raymond August, Supervising Special Auditor Investigator, Katie Jozwiak, Special Auditor Investigator and Tina Dentino, RN, Medical Analyst.