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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2009
Warrant issued for caretaker who billed state even after grandpa died

AG’s Office also announces guilty pleas in separate Medicaid fraud case

OLYMPIA — Medicaid recipient Lawrence Whitish died on Aug. 12, 2008. But a state’s attorney says his granddaughter – a government-funded care provider – continued to bill Medicaid for his ongoing care and claimed he was “fine.”

Earlier this month, Assistant Attorney General Andrea Jarmon filed charges against Nina Silchuk, 25, of Federal Way, for first-degree theft and defrauding Medicaid, a joint federal and state program that funds care for the poor. Silchuk’s arraignment was scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 17, in King County Superior Court. However, Silchuk failed to appear. A warrant has been issued for her arrest.

Jeffrey Hartley, an investigator with the Washington State Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), said Silchuk received a call from Whitish’s case manager 13 days after the senior had died. But Silchuk not only neglected to mention the death, she reportedly told the case manager her grandfather was “doing well.”  She also claimed he was happy with some new equipment the case manager had ordered for him, including a safety rail for the toilet.

The Attorney General’s Office says that as a result of her false billings, Silchuk received more than $10,000.  A conviction for a charge of theft carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in custody and a $10,000 fine.  A conviction for a charge of Medicaid False Statement carries a maximum penalty of 5 years and a $25,000 fine.

Anyone with information about Silchuk’s whereabouts should call Investigator Jeffrey Hartley at (360) 586-8888.

Another person prosecuted by the AG’s Medicaid Fraud team changed her pleas on Thursday. Sarah Matovu, who was charged in April for fraudulently authorizing payments to family members, switched her pleas from not guilty to guilty. In one case, Matovu billed the government program for services provided on dates when she and her family were on vacation.

Matovu’s sentencing is set for Oct. 9 in King County Court.

The Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of healthcare provider fraud committed against the state’s Medicaid program.  In addition, the unit coordinates the investigation and prosecution of abuse and neglect involving vulnerable adults residing in Medicaid funded residential facilities with local law enforcement authorities through a statewide contact network.


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Contacts:

Janelle Guthrie, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725

 

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