Richmond Assisted Living Facility Owner Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia:
RICHMOND, Va. –The former owner of a Richmond-based assisted living facility pleaded guilty today to health care fraud after diverting over $800,000 in federal and state benefits that were intended to pay for the care of the facility’s residents.
“For more than three years, the defendant stole essential benefits entrusted to her facility for the care of its elderly and infirm residents,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “While the vulnerable residents of her facility suffered through dreadful living conditions, the defendant selfishly used their benefits to pay for her own debts, travel, and gambling expenses in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Today’s guilty plea demonstrates that those who abuse the trust placed in them to care for our elderly and infirm will be held accountable for their egregious crimes.”
“Representative payees for elderly and incapacitated adults who are legally incapable of managing their own funds fulfill a critical role in ensuring that the Social Security benefits are used to provide for the needs of this vulnerable community,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “We will aggressively pursue those who knowingly game the system for personal gain, and we will work to recover funds for SSA and all taxpayers. I want to thank our law enforcement partners for working with us and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this individual.”
According to court documents, Mable B. Jones, 78, of Richmond, owned and operated Jones & Jones, an assisted living facility complex that served primarily elderly and incapacitated adults. For residents who were legally incapable of managing their own funds, Jones & Jones served as a representative payee and regularly received state and federal benefit payments on behalf of those residents. Representative payees are required to use Social Security benefits to provide for the beneficiary’s needs, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care. Representative payees, moreover, are specifically prohibited from using Social Security benefits for anything other than the beneficiary’s needs. Similar requirements also apply to auxiliary grants issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services.
Beginning around December 2015 and continuing through the facility’s closure in the spring of 2019, Jones converted more than $800,000 of the residents’ federal and state benefits for her own personal use. Jones used the residents’ benefits to satisfy her personal debts, including her mortgage and bankruptcy payments, and to fund her personal travel, retail purchases, and gambling expenses, including at casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jones’s 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. 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.
Jones is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 11, 2022. She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Mark R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia; Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office; and Michael McGill, Special Agent-in-Charge, Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, Philadelphia Field Division, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge M. Hannah Lauck accepted the plea.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kaitlin G. Cooke and Shea Gibbons prosecuted the case.
Combatting elder abuse and financial fraud targeted at seniors is a key priority of the Department of Justice. Elder abuse is an intentional or negligent act by any person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to an older adult. It is a term used to describe five subtypes of elder abuse: physical abuse, financial fraud, scams and exploitation, caregiver neglect and abandonment, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse. Elder abuse is a serious crime against some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, affecting at least 10 percent of older Americans every year. Together with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners, the Department of Justice is steadfastly committed to combatting all forms of elder abuse and financial exploitation through enforcement actions, training and resources, research, victim services, and public awareness. This holistic and robust response demonstrates the Department’s unwavering dedication to fighting for justice for older Americans.