For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: June 16, 2011

Surveillance Leads to Confession by Home Health Care Worker

(Boise) - Joette Nichols, Idaho Falls, was sentenced today for petit theft.  Seventh District Judge Penny Stanford imposed 15 days in jail with options, pay a $500 fine, placed her on supervised probation for two years, and she must pay $932 in restitution.

Nichols, 55, pleaded guilty to petit theft for filing claims with her employer for services she did not provide.  Her employer then filed claims for reimbursement from Medicaid.

Nichols was interviewed by an investigator with the Office of Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.  She claimed she had provided home healthcare services, spending 10 hours each day at her client’s home.  It was not until the investigator revealed to Nichols, that he had conducted surveillance on her client’s house and watched her spend four hours a day at the client’s house, that Nichols confessed to the crime.

As a result of her conviction, Nichols will likely be banned from working for any company that bills Medicaid in Idaho for 10 years and nationwide for five years.

Nichols’ conviction was the 12th conviction in the last 13 months for Medicaid fraud-related crimes in Idaho by Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.  Bonneville County Prosecutor Bruce Pickett appointed the Attorney General’s Office as special prosecutor in this case.

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