Schenectady County

Social services caseworker admits faking visit report

A former Schenectady County Department of Social Services caseworker accused of lying about checking

A former Schenectady County Department of Social Services caseworker accused of lying about checking on a mother and her emaciated baby pleaded guilty to a felony, admitting to falsifying records, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Milagros Noriega appeared before Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago and pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree falsifying business records. In exchange, Noriega is to receive five years’ probation at her Oct. 4 sentencing.

She also must not work in any social work or case management type of situation for the duration of her probation, prosecutor Jessica Lorusso said.

The plea deal had been agreed to but delayed over questions about what licenses Noriega had. It turned out she had none to turn over, Lorusso said.

For sentencing, Drago requested information from the Probation Department about caseworkers’ wage and qualification requirements, Lorusso said.

Noriega was represented in court by attorney Arthur Frost.

Noriega specifically admitted that between May and June 2010, at the child protective services building, she made a false entry in business records, Lorusso said.

Noriega was indicted in January on multiple charges, including felony counts of falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing. She also faced misdemeanor counts of official misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child.

Noriega was accused of making false entries in her reports indicating that she was doing home visits that were never conducted, authorities have said.

The woman Noriega said she was visiting previously has been identified as Lucecita Alvarado. Alvarado was sentenced in June to time served, more than eight months, after pleading guilty to first-degree reckless endangerment.

The 39-year-old Alvarado admitted that she endangered the life of her infant son by failing to provide proper medical care and nourishment.

The child, prosecutors say, barely survived and was essentially skin and bones when other social services officials spotted the child on the mother’s visit to their office June 18, 2010.

The child was rushed to a hospital, severely malnourished and suffering from dehydration and heart failure, authorities have said, but has recovered.

Noriega was placed on administrative leave, and an investigation showed she lied about visits to the mother, county officials have said. Her last day employed by the county was July 2, 2010.

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