A South Carolina man accused of stealing more than $1 million of taxpayer money by submitting false nursing home financial reports pleaded guilty to the charges against him, but he will not go to jail for the crimes.
Richard Cooke, the owner of two South Carolina nursing homes and the manager of four others, admitted to two felony and four misdemeanor accounts, including forging medicaid forms and medical assistance provider fraud, according to WSPA.com.
The court did not sentence Cooke to jail time because the judge said he could not pay back all the money he owes to the state while behind bars.
"You've got to remember, we have to balance as a prosecution agency when someone is going before the court, we have to do our best to hold white collar criminals accountable," said Alan Wilson, the attorney general. "They can hurt people just as bad as violent criminals can but often times in this type of case we have got to recover the money."
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Cooke has returned half a million dollars so far.
The court also barred Cooke from ever running a nursing home in South Carolina in the future.
"He basically received what is a death sentence in this industry," Wilson said. "He can never operate a nursing home ever ever again."