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May 30, 2012 - 3:24pm

Total amount of restitution still undecided for Bergen nurse who stole money from employer

posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen.

A Bergen resident who inflated payroll claims and was convicted by a jury of grand larceny will have to repay at least $3,000, Judge Robert C. Noonan ruled today. But whether she will be required to pay back the remainder of the more than $14,000 her former employer claims she stole is still an open question.

Michele Ann Case, 46, of North Bergen Road, Bergen, may have to pay an additional $7,000, but that question also is yet to be answered.

Case's potential total restitution is complicated by two factors.

First, on the grand larceny charge, the statute only requires the jury to determine the defendant stole at least $3,000, so without reviewing the evidence Noonan cannot order a restitution amount greater than $3,000.

Second, Homecare and Hospice is asking for restitution on the $7,000 it spent in uncovering Case's inflated payroll claims. Noonan isn't sure he has the authority to order restitution for such a claim.

Meanwhile, Public Defender Gary Horton made it clear, Case currently has no resources to repay any amount of money, even the $1,000 deductible on the insurance policy that covered Homecare and Hospice's losses.

When asked by Noonan how much Case could pay in monthly installments, Horton said Case is currently unemployed. Her only income is $600 in child support payments. Her house in foreclosure, the gas and phone have been turned off. The electricity was off, but has been restored.

"Her situation is financially desperate and on the edge of disaster," Horton said. "I can't in good conscience, with her only income coming from child support payments, suggest any amount for installment payments."

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told Noonan there had been no evidence submitted to substantiate Case's financial condition and he wondered what sort of effort Case has put forward to find a job -- any job -- to help make payments.

Noonan agreed that it was difficult to require Case to make payments from her child support, but also suggested Case needs to find a job. He ordered Case back to court in 30 days to review her ability to make payments.

Meanwhile, Noonan will await the preparation of trial transcripts (necessary for Case's appeal as well) so he can determine if the prosecution submitted sufficient evidence to support a restitution claim of $14,600. 

He also asked Horton to prepare a memo, supported by case law, on why Homecare and Hospice isn't entitled an additional $7,000.

If Noonan determines he can order the additional restitution, there would be a restitution hearing and Horton indicated that Case -- who didn't testify at her criminal trial -- would testify at that hearing on her own behalf.

When Noonan sentenced Case on May 22, he kept her out of prison, he said, for the sake of her two children, age 10 and 15. Case was sentenced to four months of weekends in jail followed by five years probation.

Michele Case
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Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: Apr 16 2010 - 12:11am

I would be more than happy to pay towards ANY amount needed to complete a real forensic audit of my time. Of course a real computer audit of the laptop I used would prove actual hours worked were more than submitted, not less. Something is seriously wrong with this court if they rule I should have to pay for a fraudulant audit that only counts certain hours and ignores the rest, especially since HomeCare and Hospice used their own employees in the process which is against the law and grounds to sue civilly!!!

Mark Brudz
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Last seen: 5 months 4 days ago
Joined: Feb 9 2012 - 9:33pm

You know Michelle, if your lawyer truly thinks that you have solid grounds for appeal and a civil case, it might be in your best interest to say nothing at all.

It is not that your comments aren't recieved, it is actually more of you risking your case.

I am just saying!

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