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Date of Issue: May 28, 2008

Acute Care trial moved to December

The four remaining defendants in the Acute Care Inc. Medicaid fraud trial were scheduled for a trial date of June 2, but that has since been moved to Dec. 8 in the Manatee County Circuit Court. The case will be brought to court for a “mention” on Dec. 2.

Elizabeth Ferguson, Nancy Wood, Heidi Rickert and Cynthia May are all charged with one count each of Medicaid fraud and organized fraud by the state attorney's office. Each defendant faces up to 30 years imprisonment and a $15,000 fine if convicted.

Ferguson and Wood are the owners of the Anna Maria medical care facility and live in Holmes Beach. Seven Acute Care staff members were originally arrested in February 2007 after agents for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had seized records at Acute Care's Anna Maria office in December 2006.

However, Carla Camacho, Andrea Suarez and Stephanie Nichols all entered guilty pleas and received suspended sentences in exchange for agreeing to testify against the remaining defendants.

Prosecutors have alleged the company billed the state for more than $2.7 million in bogus services, particularly in providing care to juveniles.

The pre-trial mention scheduled one week before the trial will be held in Judge Diane Moreland's court, on-line documents indicate. Moreland will also preside at the trial, the documents said.