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A nurse was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in federal prison and fined $90,000 in relation to the death and alleged fraud of a veteran with dementia who was in her care, court records show.

While the criminal case had been put to rest earlier this year, the civil case was ongoing. Now, the company she was employed through must pay, too.

Nurse Tracey McNeill, working for Professional Family Care Services Inc. (PFCS) at the time, had purportedly provided home-health services for an Army Veteran, identified only as W.R. in court records, between Oct. 2015 and Dec. 2016.

McNeill was accused of falsifying time sheets regarding her care for W.R., who had actually been residing in McNeill’s home, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of North Carolina. And while he was under her care, she directed Veteran Affairs to deposit W.R.’s benefits into her own bank account, spending the money on rent, credit card payments and personal purchases, court records state.

W.R. was eventually hospitalized, had severe bedsores and was extremely malnourished after several months of living with McNeill, court records report. He later died in the hospital.

On July 6, McNeill pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in Federal Prison and fined over $90,000.

Since her sentencing, the civil case against her employer moved forward.

McClatchy News reached out to PFCS and to McNeill’s defense attorney and has not received a response as of Dec. 17.

During her time caring for W.R., PFCS submitted over a dozen claims to the Department of Veterans Affairs based on the falsified information from McNeill, according to the federal officials.

In total, those payments from the VA added up to $11,273.92.

PFCS has now settled the case and agreed to pay a federally mandated three times the damages plus civil penalties, or $45,468.76, for the alleged fraudulent billings under the False Claims Act.

“The home-health services provided to the veteran by his supposed care-giver were deplorable,” said United States Attorney Michael F. Easley, Jr. said in a statement from the Justice Department. “Our veterans should be honored and respected for their service, not abused for others’ financial gain. This case, on both the criminal and civil side, embodies that unwavering commitment.”

©2021 The Charlotte Observer.

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