DECATUR – A Decatur woman who pleaded guilty to charges of stealing more than $3,800 in taxpayer dollars by submitting fraudulent claims for work performed was sentenced to 24 months' probation and ordered to pay restitution.

Yolanda Plato, 45, was also ordered to perform 30 hours of community service after she was convicted in a Jan. 18 Macon County court hearing of stealing government property by deception, a class four felony.

A statement from the Illinois State Police described Plato as working for both the Illinois Department of Human Services as a personal assistant and also working for a private company called “Help at Home Services” that provides assistance for the elderly and receives funding from the Illinois Department of Aging.

An investigation found that Plato was billing for overlapping hours from both jobs and being overpaid by the state. Between May 30, 2013, and July 4, 2014, she was overpaid for a total of 340 hours involving Medicaid dollars.

She was caught by a police unit called the Medicaid Fraud Control Bureau, commanded by Capt. Brian Ley. “It's especially troubling when people steal from government programs designed to help some of our state's most vulnerable citizens,” Ley said.

“Our goal is to investigate these cases and send a message that we are monitoring how Medicaid dollars are being spent, all in an effort to deter future criminal acts against the Medicaid program.”

The Medicaid Fraud Control Bureau was established in 1978 and was created to hunt down those who try to steal from or defraud the program. In 2016 alone, the bureau had 223 opened cases, made 24 arrests and recovered more than $31 million.

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Staff Writer

Courts and public safety reporter for the Herald & Review.

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