Three Maryland residents face a collective 128 charges of abuse and neglect of a vulnerable adult, financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, embezzlement, theft, fraud and operating a combined total of 10 assisted living facilities without licenses, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced Tuesday.
“The hope is that this tragic situation will raise awareness of the importance of choosing a licensed assisted living facility to ensure quality of care and quality of life for those that need assistance,” Stevanne Ellis, state long-term care ombudsman, said in a statement.
The cases against Troy Desante Brown, Sharon Prunella Isaac and Barbara Jean Parker, all of Baltimore, can be traced to 2015, when the attorney general’s office began investigating a nursing home operator, Neiswanger Management Services, for potentially violating the Patients’ Bill of Rights and the Maryland False Health Claims Act. The provider, the investigators alleged, was unlawfully discharging residents to unlicensed assisted living facilities, according to the attorney general’s office. In October 2018, the company settled with the state, agreeing to stop running nursing facilities and to pay $2.2 million to the state.
Subsequently, the attorney general’s office began criminal investigations into the operators of the unlicensed assisted living facilities where it said the nursing home residents had been “dumped.” The investigation revealed financial exploitation of the facilities’ residents as well as additional evidence of abuse and neglect, according to the attorney general. Searches recently conducted at the facilities revealed overcrowding and, in some instances, “deplorable” living conditions, including bed bugs and mice, the office said.
“These individuals operated predatory, unlicensed facilities, compromising the health and safety of vulnerable residents who were in their care,” Frosh said in a statement. “The conditions endured by the residents were often dirty, unsanitary and infested by vermin, and the residents’ medical needs often went unaddressed.”
Brown, alleged to have operated two unlicensed assisted living homes, was indicted on 50 counts by a Baltimore city grand jury and one count by a Baltimore County grand jury. The charges include operating an unlicensed assisted living facility, Medicaid fraud, felony theft scheme, extortion, exploitation of a vulnerable adult, embezzlement, forgery, welfare fraud, perjury and tax fraud.
Isaac, alleged to have operated seven unlicensed assisted living homes, was indicted on 51 counts by the city grand jury and seven counts by the county jury. Charges include operating an unlicensed assisted living facility, Medicaid fraud, first degree assault, first degree abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult, felony theft scheme, extortion, embezzlement, exploitation of a vulnerable adult, identity fraud, forgery, perjury, welfare fraud and tax fraud.
Parker, alleged to have operated one unlicensed assisted living home, was indicted on 14 counts by the city grand jury and five counts by the county grand jury. Charges include operating an unlicensed assisted living facility, felony theft scheme, identity fraud, exploitation of a vulnerable adult, embezzlement and tax fraud.
“The Office of the Attorney General, the Ombudsman Program, Adult Protective Service, Maryland State Police and the Office of Health Quality Care Quality worked together to combat the abuse, exploitation, neglect and trafficking of disabled and older adults in these unlicensed assisted living facilities,” Ellis said.