A woman formerly employed by a government office that coordinated managed long-term services and supports for assisted living and nursing home residents as well as people living in their homes faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 after she admitted accepting bribes for referring people in need of home health aides.
Myrtha Nicolas is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 15 on one court of extortion under color of official right, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.
Nicolas was a referral coordinator in the Hudson County (NJ) Office on Aging, an agency of the Division of Disability Services in the state Department of Human Services. She controlled the coordination and assignment of patients with disabilities who needed home health care services to home health care companies, according to court documents.
From June 2016 to October 2017, according to the documents, Nicolas accepted payments from a confidential witness, who was a self-employed executive of a home health care company, in exchange for referring patients to that person’s company. They agreed on a rate of $500 per patient, but Nicolas also reportedly accepted some $600 payments as well as a $1,000 payment.
The potential $250,000 fine represents twice the total amount that Nicolas allegedly paid the home health company executive, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.