PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- A former bookkeeper for a Perryville nursing facility pleaded guilty Monday before Circuit Court Judge William L. Syler to three felony charges -- forgery, stealing by deceit and abuse of a person receiving health care by taking funds.
With her plea, Connie J. Beckerman of Perryville admitted to forging checks to steal money from a trust fund account, where residents keep their spending money, at the Perry Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, formerly Perry Oaks Manor.
Attorney General Chris Koster said in a news release that his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated the case and discovered that between September 2006 and Oct. 15, 2007, Beckerman stole more than $14,500 by forging a nursing home administrator's signature on checks written for cash. Beckerman kept the money for personal use according to the news release. Beckerman's victims were Medicaid recipients residing at the Perry Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
A facility administrator discovered a discrepancy in the account after the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services performed an onsite licensure inspection at the nursing home in 2007.
When an auditor from Koster's fraud control unit was assigned to the case and compared the amount of checks written for "cash" out of the resident trust account with what was deposited into a cash box, they realized more money was coming out of the resident accounts than was being spent by the residents.
According to the attorney general's office, when Beckerman confessed to the forgery and misappropriation of funds, she said she used the money to buy scratch-off lottery tickets.
"This kind of outrageous conduct steals medical resources that would otherwise be directed to truly needy Missourians," Koster said. "Those who would steal from Missouri taxpayers must understand that we will find you and prosecute to the fullest extent."
Beckerman, who requested a sentencing assessment report, is set to be sentenced Aug. 13.
430 North West Street, Perryville, MO