In a recent report by NBC Today Show correspondent Jeff Rossen, light was shed on a heinous crime that is becoming increasingly popular: defrauding the elderly, particularly those in nursing homes.
If your loved one has been take advantage of in a nursing home, contact O’Connor, Acciani & Levy’s nursing home abuse lawyers in Cincinnati at (877) 288-3241 or by filling out the Free Case Evaluation form at the top of the page.
Recent events exposed the tactics of some nursing home employees who mishandle the funds in the residents accounts, in many cases stealing tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars from them.
Rossen presented the story of Leo Foster, whose mother was exploited while a resident of the Vicksburg Convalescence Center in Vicksburg, Miss.
“It made me feel sick at my stomach. It just didn’t dawn on me that someone would be so low as to steal from a vulnerable adult,” said Phyllis Foster, Leos wife.
The Fosters discovered that the office coordinator at the nursing home, Lee Ray Martin, had been stealing from Leos mother, and after the Fosters investigated they discovered upwards of one dozen cash withdrawals had been made from Leos mothers account.
Martin was accused of stealing over $100,000 out of the accounts of 83 different residents at Vicksburg, and in August she pleaded guilty to 29 counts of exploitation of a vulnerable person, and to one count of conspiracy.
The most frightening aspect of the Fosters case is that it can happen to almost anyone with a loved one in a nursing home, since the regulations are lax in hiring employees, and there are no audit requirements. In fact, nursing homes and eldercare facilities do not have a universal background check policy, which means that Lee Ray Martin could, hypothetically, find a job at a similar institution in another state without any hesitation.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood offered his opinion on the nature of an embezzler, saying simply that if they have done it once, they’re gonna do it again.
In order to protect your loved ones while they are in an elder care assisted living facility or nursing home, request to see monthly statements from any account that is being handled for them. This way, it is easier to spot discrepancies and correct them. Nursing homes are required to carry insurance for an occasion that money has in fact gone missing, so it is likely that any missing funds can be returned.