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Borough couple busted in nursing scam: DA

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A Queens Village husband-and-wife team who own a nursing home employment service have been charged with referring unlicensed nurses to the Holliswood Care Center in Queens Village, claiming the nurses were licensed practical nurses, the Queens district attorney said.

Elise Pierre, 49, and his wife Lovely, 45, of 97-32 221 St. in Queens Village were charged Oct. 10 with grand larceny, falsifying business records, scheme to defraud and violating New York state education law, according to Queens DA Richard Brown. If convicted each faces up to 15 years in jail.

The couple along with eight other individuals allegedly defrauded the Queens nursing home at 195-44 Woodhull Ave. by providing unlicensed nurses and collecting more than $200,000 in salaries and placement fees.

“The two main defendants who allegedly knowingly supplied the unlicensed LPNs to the unsuspecting nursing home betrayed their profession and the nursing home and its elderly and infirm residents,” Brown said. “They prayed upon those in need of qualified assistance putting the health of those residents at risk for their own benefit.”

He said the employment agency — L&E Specialty Services at 222-13 Jamaica Ave. — was required to verify the licenses it referred to the Holliswood nursing home. Brown said the deception can be traced back to February 1999.

Howard Fensterman, the lawyer for the nursing home, said the fraudulent paperwork was discovered during one of the home’s internal audits and reported immediately to the state Department of Health and the New York State Department of Education.

“Fortunately no harm was done to any of the patients,” he said. “Not a single patient was hurt. The nursing home was glad to discover the problem and feel fortunate no one was injured.”

Fensterman said anyone who was referred to Holliswood Care Center by the agency, with or without legitimate paperwork, was removed from the home.

Mary Jones, the employment agency’s office manager and spokesman, said did not have any comment regarding the charges.

“This investigation involved a dangerous for-profit scheme for providing unlicensed health-care providers to nursing homes knowing full well that those provided were not licensed or qualified to treat the patient population,” said Johanna Duncan-Poitier, state deputy commissioner of education. “They had no professional licenses or training and were not competent to provide services.”

She alleged the defendants took advantage of the severe nursing shortage affecting hospitals throughout the state for their own gain. Duncan-Poitier said the arrests come at a time when the Department of Education is working with public health professionals to recruit, license and retain nurses.

The eight other individuals who were arrested on charges of impersonating licensed nurses have been charged with grand larceny and penal and education law violations also face up to 15 years in jail if they are convicted.

The eight other people charged are: Midla Boliere-Chery, 46, of Elmont; Marie Derochen, 40, of Brooklyn; Carmelle Lajoie, 45, of Queens Village; Marie Laplanche, 30, of Queens Village; Paul Lagredelle, 25, of Queens Village; Olga Perroud, 42, of Elmont; Varda Sourvrain, 23, of Queens Village; and Roma Tait, 25, of Brooklyn.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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