Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Texans will never tolerate criminals who exploit senior citizens, Attorney General Abbott said. Nursing home employees are obligated to care for their patients, not steal from them. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit will continue aggressively protecting Texas seniors.
Following Aguilar’s April 2006 arrest, Medicaid Fraud investigators discovered evidence of further criminal conduct. Aguilar also diverted money from residents’ trust fund accounts at Houston’s Briarwood Health Care Center. Aguilar was subsequently indicted for stealing an additional $4,000 from those accounts. She will appear in a Harris County District Court on May 14 to face those charges.
In the Brookshire Nursing Center case, the center’s regional account manager conducted an internal audit and found that Aguilar wrote 33 unauthorized checks from the combined trust fund pool to her personal accounts. The account manager then alerted the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, which subsequently referred the case to the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for criminal investigation.
Residents’ family members may elect to have Medicaid funds or deposits from relatives held in nursing home trust fund accounts. Nursing home officials in this case, Aguilar are entrusted with managing these accounts, including cash distributions requested by the residents or their relatives. Trust accounts may be audited by the state at any time.