In a common but tragic tale of greed and avarice, Pamela S. Britt, a nursing home administrator, was accused of stealing around $100,000 from 18 victims between 2007 and 2011 when she operated Heartland Health Care. Britt was an authorized check signer and exploited that authority to write checks to herself, forging signatures of other employees to cover her tracks.
Britt remains in jail in lieu of a $75,000 bond. Her next court date is July 30. The residents have a single pool for their funds, whether they be private, Medicaid, or Social Security. Britt quit the home before an internal audit, when it was discovered that she had been committing fraud for the past three years. Britt could face up to 15 years in prison. See full article at The News-Gazette.
WECT 6 News reported that a licensed practical nurse at a nursing home in Brunswick County, North Carolina was arrested after she stole more than $1,800 from one of the elderly residents she was employed to care for. The 38-year-old Berkley Lyn Croft stole the resident’s bankcard and then used it to remove money from the account without authorization. Croft has a felony charge of exploitation of an elderly adult by a person in a position of trust. Croft’s bond is set at $5,000.
New Jersey’s Fair Lawn Patch News reported that an employee of Maple Glen Center nursing home in Fair Lawn has been charged with forgery, theft, and impersonation after she allegedly conned more than $100,000 from a resident. Kye Giacalone worked as the admissions director at the facility when she “befriended” the resident and gained power of attorney. She then used it to open credit cards in the victim’s name which she paid for with money from the man’s bank account. Fair Lawn followed it up with an article that reported charges include four counts of forgery, four counts of impersonating another and one count of second degree theft.
Even after the resident moved to another nursing home Giacalone continued to steal money from his account to purchase personal items for herself. Incredibly, the administrator of Maple Glen Center claimed that the facility had not suspected any wrong doing until the day police came to the facility to arrest Giacalone.
The administrator defended the facility’s judgment saying, “All Maple Glen Center employees are subject to a background check.” Incidents such as this one show that the background check policies that many nursing homes have in place are not serving their intended purpose-to prevent harm and protect the residents.
Employing a higher standard of people should be made a top priority especially when these are the people entrusted to care for a family’s vulnerable loved one.
A disappointing, yet unsurprising, article was published on NewJersey.com on yet another nursing home employee stealing from a vulnerable adult. The article reported that Kye M. Giacalone has been charged with stealing over $29,000 from a helpless resident of Maple Glenn Nursing Home.
Giacalone, while working in the admissions office of the facility, befriended one of the residents in an attempt to gain his trust. After getting power of Attorney, Giacalone opened credit card accounts in the victim’s name, which she paid off with funds from his personal account. Even after the resident moved facilities, Giacalone continued to steal from him. Authorities have advised that the investigation is still ongoing and the total amount of money stolen has not yet been determined.
A Maywood police detective commented, “She took advantage of the trust given to her.”
This is yet example the need for more stringent background checks and a higher quality of nursing home workers. Sadly, far too many nursing home employees are not the type of person a family would want to entrust their loved one to.
Philly Burbs and NBC Philadelphia had articles on the arrest of Virginia Marquardt after she allegedly stole over $300,000 from a 67-year-old woman in a nursing home. Investigators say the victim had been in nursing home care since July of 2007. Investigators say that soon after Marquardt, a registered nurse, obtained power of attorney for her former neighbor on July 31, 2007, she began spending the victim’s money on expenses that were not related to her care including expensive watches and vacations.
Virginia Marquardt obtained Power of Attorney for her, which gave Marquardt the ability to hold the victim’s money, control her assets and disburse them as needed. Marquardt took control of the victim’s bank account in August 2007 and also made herself a 50% beneficiary in the resident’s will.
Over the next several years, police say Marquardt only paid portions to the nursing home for the victim’s care and the outstanding balance continued to rise. The unexplained and suspicious use of the victim’s assets finally prompted an investigation in 2011 which found at least $300,000 in illegal payments from the account between August of 2007 and March of 2012 for the benefit of Marquardt and her husband Edward Marquardt.
An article in the Robinson-Moon Patch reported that an Ambridge, Pennsylvania woman admitted to law enforcement that she stole blank checks from a nursing home resident’s room and then attempted to defraud him out of over $1,500.
Caren Anne Austin forged the resident’s name and attempted to cash the stolen checks at two local banks. Staff at Manorcare Health Services, where the victim is a resident, contacted authorities when the checks were discovered missing. Austin admitted to police that she stole the checks when she was visiting her boyfriend, who was the victim’s roommate, at the nursing home. Austin is charged with forgery and two count of theft by deception.
Austin pleaded guilty in 2002 to multiple counts of forgery and theft by deception, and pleaded guilty again in 2010 to burglary and receiving stolen property in connection to a Moon Township incident.
The Telegram and Gazette reported that a Webster, Massachusetts nursing home social worker has been charged with stealing over $13,000 from a 93-year old WWII veteran and civilian prisoner of war. How could anyone do that?
Monica L. Zicius allegedly visited the victim at home and falsely told him that he owed money for his wife’s care. When the victim discovered that two checks to Ms. Zicius had been withdrawn from his account he went to the nursing home where she worked with his bank statements. He attempted to show the staff at the facility the statements but Zicius cornered him at the end of a hallways and tried to forcefully seize the bank statements from him. The police also discovered that Zicius also forged a letter from a Boston Law firm informing the victim that he owed $10,000 in credit card debt and then had forged a check to make it look like she had paid the debt on behalf of the victim.
Zicius had really put the money in a bank account for her children saying, “Anyone would do what I did for their kids if they had the opportunity.” Zicius has been charged with unarmed assault with intent to rob, forgery of a document, uttering a false document, larceny of more than $250, and two counts of both uttering a false check and forgery of a check.
The Clarion Ledger reported the arrest of a nursing home worker, Lee Ray Martin, who is accused of taking more than $101,000 from 83 residents of Shady Lawn Nursing Home and Vicksburg Convalescent Center. Martin was arrested on multiple counts of exploiting vulnerable persons.
While working as the business office coordinator for both facilities, Martin allegedly wrote checks from the residents’ trust fund or petty cash account, and then cashed them for her own use.
Kentucky.com had an article about the greedy nursing home Administrator of Golden Years that stole money intended for patient care. James "Chum" Tackett admitted that he stole $300,000 intended for disabled residents and used some of that money to buy trucks for himself. He pled guilty to theft, exploitation and tax-evasion charges. As part of his guilty plea, Tackett admitted that he took more than $300,000 from mentally ill and disabled residents at the home.
He used the money to buy a GMC Hummer, a Chevrolet Silverado, a Ford F-150 and a Suzuki XL-7. About $60,000 was stolen from one Golden Years resident.
Meanwhile, conditions at the personal care home were horrible including expired medicines, the building in disrepair and no milk for residents because the food bill had not been paid.
WYFF reported the arrest of Layla Jessica Davidson for one count each of financial transaction card theft, financial transaction fraud and exploitation of a vulnerable adult. In an incident report, deputies said Davidson stole from Natalie Iskersky, 85, who is a resident of Skylyn Place, located in Spartanburg, S.C. The resident’s son reported she was stealing from his mother. Skylyn is owned and operated by Emeritus.
Iskersky’s son, Erick contacted deputies in June. He told them that Davidson had used his mother’s debit card and wrote 13 checks from his mother’s checkbook. The man told deputies that the checks were made out to Davidson and various other people. He said up to $7,000 had been taken from his mother’s Regions Bank account. When confronted by her supervisors at Interim Health Care, deputies said Davidson admitted to writing the checks.
Families should never leave checkbooks, credit cards, or other valuables with residents in any facility.