Prison nurse sentenced for role in fraudulent overtime scheme

A former Medical College of Georgia employee working as a prison nurse has been sentenced to six months behind bars and ordered to pay $80,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to racketeering for his role in falsifying time records to steal money from the state.

Paul Sylvester Thornhill, who was contracted to work as a licensed practical nurse at the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Wednesday in Tattnall County Superior Court, according to Lauren Kane, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s office.

“While working at GSP in Reidsville, Thornhill participated in a fraudulent payroll scheme with Debbie Lynn Wright, a former senior clerk responsible for timekeeping of hourly employees,” Kane said in an e-mail.

She said Wright “manually entered fraudulent data into timekeeping software which resulted in Thornhill being paid for overtime hours that he did not work and receiving double or triple payments for working the same hours.”

Wright pleaded guilty last November to one count of racketeering and was sentenced to two years in prison.