- Attorney General Stuart Rabner and Criminal
Justice Director Gregory A. Paw announced
that an Essex County woman has been sentenced
for using phony nursing licenses to obtain
employment at a nursing home.
According to Insurance Fraud
Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Frances M.
Colon-Torres, 33, of Irvington, was ordered
by Superior Court Judge Stephen Bernstein
in Essex County to serve two years probation,
during which she is barred from working
in the health care field, and to pay $18,000
in fines and restitution. In addition, Colon-Torres
was ordered to attend mandatory psychological
counseling. Colon-Torres was sentenced following
her Nov. 13 guilty plea to two counts each
of false government documents, theft by
deception and uttering a forged document,
all third-degree crimes.
Colon-Torres admitted that
in August 2004, she submitted a false license
to Premier Nursing Home in Orange to be
hired as a licensed practical nurse. As
an LPN, Colon-Torres dispensed medication
to patients. In May 2005, Colon-Torres presented
a false registered nurse license to Premier
Nursing and was subsequently promoted. As
an RN, Colon Torres did assessments of patients
and took phone orders from doctors for medications,
which only registered nurses are authorized
to do. As a result of the fraud, she was
paid more than $37,500 for a job for which
she was not qualified.
State Investigator Anthony
Iannice and Deputy Attorney General Yvette
Gibbons coordinated the investigation. Gibbons
represented the Office of Insurance Fraud
Prosecutor at the sentencing.
Brown noted that some important cases have
started with anonymous tips. People who
are concerned about insurance cheating and
have information about a fraud can report
it anonymously by calling the toll-free
or visiting the Web at www.NJInsuranceFraud.org.
State regulations permit an award to be
paid to an eligible person who provides
information that leads to an arrest, prosecution
and conviction for insurance fraud.
The Office of Insurance
Fraud Prosecutor was established by the
Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act
of 1998. The office is the centralized state
agency that investigates and prosecutes
both civil and criminal insurance fraud,
as well as Medicaid fraud.