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Thursday, December 12, 2019
   
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Nursing Care Manager Sentenced for Embezzlement

The former area manager of one of Savannah’s leading in-home health-care companies, Nightingale Staffing, Inc., received her sentence last week for embezzling from the company from 2001 through 2008.
Edmund A. Booth Jr., U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, announced last week that Arelia Jones, age 41, of Savannah was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. on her conviction of bank fraud.  Booth stated that the evidence at the guilty plea and sentencing hearings showed that while Jones was employed by Nightingale Staffing, Inc. as area manager, she used her position and her access to Nightingale’s payroll information to create a “ghost” employee in the name of “Linda Jones” and authorized the payment of more than $30,000 to “Linda Jones” and the deposit of those funds into a out-of-state bank account created and controlled by Arelia Jones herself. 
In addition, Jones used her position as Nightingale manager to authorize approximately $110,000 in overpaid wages and reimbursements to more than a dozen Nightingale nursing assistants for hours they never worked and expenses they never incurred. Jones admitted her role in the offense and pled guilty to one count of bank fraud on April 2.
The company provides in-home nursing services to elderly and chronically ill area residents as an alternative to assisting living facilities. 
The court sentenced Jones to 18 months of imprisonment and ordered her to pay $144,877.63 in restitution to Nightingale.  After Jones is released from prison, she will remain under the supervision of the court and the U.S. Probation Office for a period of five years, during which time she will be required to complete 150 hours of community service and abide by a number of other restrictions.
Booth noted that Kellie Pinkston, a former nursing assistant at Nightingale, was also charged with bank fraud in connection with the overpayment scheme. The evidence at her guilty plea hearing showed Pinkston knowingly received from Jones more than $25,000 in overpayments for hours she never worked and expenses she never incurred at Nightingale. Pinkston admitted her role in the offense and pled guilty to one count of bank fraud on May 29.  Upon completion of a pre-sentence investigation and report, Pinkston will be sentenced by the court.
The investigation involved the cooperative efforts of the U.S. Secret Service and the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Brian Tanner.
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