Former nursing home chief jailed over $100,000 theft from patients

URBANA — A former Champaign nursing home administrator accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from residents in her care remained in the Champaign County jail Tuesday.

Pamela S. Britt, 55, was arrested last week at her home in Potomac on a warrant that had been issued June 12 by a Champaign County judge.

The former administrator at the Heartland Health Care Center, 309 E. Springfield Ave., C, is charged with 12 felony counts of financial exploitation of an elderly person, theft, theft by deception, and forgery.

The charges allege she stole about $100,000 from a total of 18 victims between January 2007 and May 2011 while she worked at Heartland Health Care.

The case is being prosecuted by the Illinois attorney general's office.

Britt was arraigned Friday and had her next court date set for July 30. She's being held in lieu of $75,000 bond.

Scott Mulford, spokesman for Attorney General Lisa Madigan, declined to give any details of what Britt had allegedly done other than to say the case was investigated by the Medicaid Fraud Bureau of the Illinois State Police.

Champaign police detective Pat Kelly, who was also involved in the investigation, said the loss of patient funds was discovered through an internal audit.

Kelly explained that each of the residents, no matter whether private pay, insurance pay, Medicaid only pay, or Social Security only pay, has money in his or her account but it's kept in one pool.

"It (the money) comes and goes and they keep track by bookkeeping. She was making false entries into the books and physically writing checks to herself," Kelly explained.

"She was the authorized signer on the account and in some cases she was forging the signatures of other employees who were authorized signers," he said.

Kelly said Britt left the employ of the nursing home when the internal audit was about to be done. Police were alerted to the irregularities by the company representatives who did the audit, he said.

A call to the current Heartland Health Care Center administrator seeking comment was not returned.

Kelly said Britt reportedly confessed to stealing the money, which he estimated to be around $100,000, but gave no reasonable explanation for how she spent it.

If convicted of the most serious of the counts, Britt faces penalties ranging from probation to four to 15 years in prison.

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sweet caroline wrote on June 28, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Hearbreaking!  I hope they lock her up for a very long time.  How can she look at herself in the mirror?

Marti Wilkinson wrote on July 01, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Personally, I hate it when people take advantage of the elderly, but I'm also dubious over how our system treats 'white collar' crime. If she has a clean criminal record prior to this, and is willing to make restitution, she may get probation or a reduced sentence. It almost seems like the bigger the crime, the less amount of time, when it comes down to theft. The only reason why Bernie Maddoff ended up in jail is because he stole from the rich.