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Former Health Services Employee Charged with Embezzling $30,000

(Phoenix, Ariz. – Dec. 9, 2009) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that former Southeastern Arizona Behavioral Health Services (SEABHS) employee Sylvia Nerey, 43, of Nogales, has been charged with embezzling more than $30,000 of SEABHS funds. 

The charges, filed in Santa Cruz County, are a result of a joint investigation conducted by the Nogales Police Department, Benson Police Department, and the Attorney General’s Office Special Investigations Section and Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Nerey has been charged with one count of fraud, a class 2 felony; one count of theft, a class 2 felony; and 18 counts of forgery, a class 4 felony.

According to the allegations, Nerey embezzled $30,665 from SEABHS between October 2006 and October 2008. During this time, she was employed in the accounts payable division of the organization. Specific allegations include the forging of 18 SEABHS checks which were either deposited into her personal accounts or cashed. 

This case is being prosecuted by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit because SEABHS is an Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) provider. 

“These allegations represent a serious betrayal of trust to a system that provides important behavioral health services to Arizona most vulnerable population,” Goddard said. “AHCCCS is a critical component in Arizona’s health care system. Theft of already limited funds is a   reprehensible act that threatens the integrity and sustainability of a system like AHCCCS.” 

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Christina Vejar. A copy of the charges is attached.  

For more information, contact Anne Hilby at (602) 542-8019.

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