BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. The previous owner of a Bedford Hills business was sentenced Thursday to serve a short jail term after she pleaded guilty to larceny and fraud last March. Lisa Bruno, of Westport, Conn., admitted using unlicensed therapists, along with illegally acquiring $906,000 in funds from the Westchester County Department of Health, according to District Attorney Janet DiFiore.
Bruno pleaded guilty to one count of grand larceny in the second degree, one count of grand larceny in the third degree, one count of unlicensed practice of a profession, and one count of scheme to defraud in the first degree. Bruno was sentenced to shock probation, and ordered to pay restitution of $429,000.
Shock probation is a jail sentence that is meant to be somewhat short in relation to other sentences, but the stint in the penal system is meant to shock those sentenced into a life away from crime.
Care Point Services, Inc. was an occupational and physical therapy business which provided services for children with developmental disabilities. It was found to be operating illegally in 2009 after a complaint was filed by a family whose child was treated by one of the unlicensed therapists on staff, the district attorneys office said.
This defendant, in using unlicensed occupational and physical therapists, not only called into question their experience, ability and competence, but also jeopardized the safety and wellbeing of her clients, DiFiore said.
According to DiFiore, from 2005 through June of 2009, Bruno received reimbursement from the Westchester County Department of Health for services she claimed were by licensed therapists, despite fully knowing they were unlicensed. Bruno also was double billing, submitting duplicate bills for the therapy.
By misrepresenting certifications and double billing the department of health, Bruno defrauded the taxpayers of Westchester County to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars which, as part of her sentence, she will be repaying, DiFiore said.
At the sentencing on Thursday, Bruno reportedly paid $300,000, along with forfeiting $57,000 of fees owed to her. According to DiFiore, $120,000 will be paid through the department of probation over the next five years.
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