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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Elder abuse, Medicaid fraud catches mother/daughter combo in Faulkner County

Juanita Rowden

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Friday announced the conviction of two Faulkner County women for Medicaid fraud and elder abuse.

Vonita Pitones and Juanita Rowden (Juanita Cruz) pleaded guilty to one count of theft by deception, a Class C felony, and abuse of adults, a Class D felony, in Faulkner County Circuit Court.

Pitones was sentenced to three years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections with an additional two years suspended imposition of sentence. Rowden was sentenced to five years probation and also ordered to pay a fine of $2,500.

Vonita Pitones

As part of the sentencing agreement, they must jointly and severally pay $2,639 in restitution to the Arkansas Medicaid Program Trust Fund.

“Investigators and Arkansas Attorney General’s office attorneys work tirelessly to investigate and prosecute those who commit Medicaid fraud and elder abuse,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will ensure that people attempting to defraud and hurt Arkansans are held accountable and that type of action is not tolerated in our State.”

Rowden provided private care to the victim and unlawfully filled out Medicaid documents to allow her daughter, Pitones, to be her home health aide through Absolute Care in Conway.

Pitones billed for Medicaid services not provided including changing and bathing the victim. Neither Rowden nor Pitones provided adequate care and the victim was neglected. The victim’s daughter found her mother in need of medical attention.

She was hospitalized for dehydration, sepsis, pneumonia and several pressure wounds. The victim passed away eight days later. The case was referred to the Attorney General's Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit by the Faulkner County Prosecutor’s Office and was prosecuted in conjunction with them.

To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or

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