scales of justice and law books

The former owner of a now-shuttered Richmond, VA, assisted living community pleaded guilty Wednesday to healthcare fraud after reportedly using more than $823,000 in federal and state benefits intended to pay for the care of residents for her own personal use.

Mable B. Jones, owner and operator of the former Jones & Jones assisted living community, is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 11, 2022. She faces a maximum 10 years in prison. 

Jones & Jones was a representative payee and regularly received state and federal benefit payments on behalf of residents legally deemed incapable of managing their own funds, according to the Justice Department. Representative payees are required to use Social Security benefits to provide food, clothing, housing and medical care for beneficiaries.

Jones, whose administrator license was suspended for 90 days in 2017 by the Virginia Board of Long-Term Care Administrators, was accused of diverting federal and state Social Security benefits for her own personal use from December 2015 to 2019. The Justice Department alleged that Jones used residents’ benefits to pay personal debts, including her mortgage and bankruptcy bills, and to fund personal travel, retail purchases and gambling expenses, including at casinos in Atlantic City, NJ, and Las Vegas. 

“Jones’ diversion of resident benefits led to significant and persistent deficiencies in the facilities, care and services provided to Jones & Jones residents, including deficiencies that endangered residents’ health and safety,” according to the DOJ. “These conditions ultimately prompted state and federal audits of the facility before its closure, during which Jones made false statements about her conversion and use of resident funds.”

Richmond Police began investigating the community after residents were found wandering the street nearby, begging for money. That event triggered investigations from the Department of Social Services, Social Security Administration and local authorities. 

The state’s investigation uncovered “dire conditions,” violations and video of possible elder abuse. The US. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, Attorney General of Virginia, FBI’s Richmond Field Office and the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General were involved in the case.

As McKnight’s Senior Living previously reported, Jones’ administrators’ license was suspended again in 2018, and she was indicted this past April. The community closed in spring 2019.