A Freeport home healthcare provider was arrested Thursday after she repeatedly left her developmentally-disabled patient in a parked car outside her home, Nassau prosecutors said.
Esther Reyes, 33, will be arraigned Thursday on charges of grand larceny, welfare fraud and endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person. She faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.
Between July 25, 2006 and Nov. 17, 2008, Reyes was employed by a Hicksville couple to be the home health aide to their 23-year-old son, who suffered from autism, seizures and pervasive developmental disorder, but instead of providing care, including dressing and feeding the man, Reyes locked the man in a car in her driveway with only a radio, prosecutors said.
Reyes also allegedly worked a second job as a school bus driver while she was supposed to be caring for the man. Medicaid regulations prohibit care providers from having secondary employment during the hours they are working in that capacity. Reyes fraudulently collected $34,157 in Medicaid payments, prosecutors said.
“This case shocks the conscience,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement. “This case may not be the largest Medicaid theft we’ve done and it certainly isn’t the most sophisticated but it just may be one of the most disturbing and inhuman. This defendant scammed the system and preyed on the needs of an incredibly vulnerable young man, all for the sake of a buck.”