By Associated Press - Sunday, February 14, 2016

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois woman has been sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution for stealing more than $34,000 from a Medicaid health care program.

Prosecutors say 55-year-old Ann Marie Sheppard of O’Fallon submitted fraudulent bills for personal assistant services that she never provided. The program she was falsely billing for nearly two years is designed to let people remain in their homes instead of entering nursing facilities.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in southern Illinois says investigators discovered that in two cases when she claimed to be providing home services she was actually traveling in Costa Rica and taking a Caribbean cruise.

She was sentenced this past week. The first six months of her probation will be served in home confinement.

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