$300K theft from resident nets jail time for administrator
The former administrator of an assisted living community has been sentenced to a year in federal prison and two years of supervised release Sept. 28 after pleading guilty in July of stealing more than $300,000 in veterans benefits from one of the community's residents. She also may have to pay restitution to the resident's family.
“This disabled veteran was entitled to every penny of his disability award after honorably serving our country, and needed the money to live comfortably in assisted living—yet [Denise M.] Bailey spent the money for her own personal expenses,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn.
Bailey was the administrator at Azalea Gardens in Conyers, GA, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia. In December 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs appointed her to be the fiduciary for a Vietnam veteran who needed long-term care after a heart attack in 2006. As his fiduciary, Bailey agreed to use any veterans benefits awarded to the veteran only for his benefit.
In July 2011, the VA retroactively awarded the veteran more than $313,000 in disability benefits, depositing the money into an account held in his name, with Bailey as administrator. Bailey emptied the account within four days, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. After transferring the funds from that account to the Azalea Gardens account, she transferred most of the money to herself or to accounts that she controlled, and she used some of it to pay off family credit cards bills.
During the later VA investigation, Bailey submitted fraudulent bills in an attempt to justify the payments, falsely claiming that the veteran owed money to Azalea Gardens for extraordinary services. She had not informed the veteran or his family about the VA payment or the alleged bills for these services.