January 24, 2011

Ex-Haven Healthcare Bookkeeper Arrested

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A former bookkeeper for the Haven Healthcare nursing home chain, who pleaded guilty earlier this month to embezzling thousands of dollars from nursing home resident trust fund accounts, has been arrested on state charges.

Serena Rutherford-Sylvia, 42, of Waterford was charged on Monday for her alleged role in a scheme to present false evidence in a state court case.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Haven admitted a patient to its Jewett City nursing home in July 2007 without having him sign a document agreeing to pay any costs not covered by Medicare or other insurance. After the man was discharged with about $36,000 in unpaid costs, Rutherford-Sylvia allegedly forged the man’s signature on a backdated collection document and then lied about that forgery when she testified in a Superior Court lawsuit Haven had brought seeking to collect the money, the warrant states.

She has been charged with perjury and second-degree forgery, both class D felonies punishable by up to five years in prison for each count.

The arrest comes just weeks after Rutherford-Sylvia pleaded guilty to charges that she took more than $53,000 from nursing home resident trust fund accounts at Haven Health Center of Jewett City, Haven Health Center of Norwich, Haven Health Center of Waterford, and Haven Health Center of Soundview in West Haven, according to court documents.

The latest arrest follows a long federal and state investigation into the now-defunct Haven Healthcare, LLC, which ran several nursing homes in Connecticut and which employed Rutherford-Sylvia as regional accounts receivable manager.

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