Abusing people who, for whatever reason, are too weak or infirm to stand up for themselves is one of the most despicable things someone can do. Our Alpharetta nursing home abuse lawyers know that this is all too common a problem for our elderly citizens, who are often physically or mentally incapable of defending themselves. No one wants to see their parents or grandparents in this situation, but unscrupulous people take advantage for their own greed.
A truly horrible case of this has finally been brought to justice. Two Georgians, George Dayln Houser and his wife Rhonda Washington Houser, were arrested and put on trial for fraud in the federal court for the Northern District of Georgia. Rhonda Houser pled guilty to felony health care fraud in December 2011. In April, George Houser was convicted of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid out of $32.9 million. They are both awaiting sentencing. It required an investigation by the FBI’s Atlanta Bureau to finally uncover the horrible treatment of elderly residents at the Houser’s three Georgia nursing homes.
The Houser’s received Medicare and Medicaid payments to provide their nursing home residents with a safe and clean environment, nutritional meals, medical care, and other needed assistance. They provided anything but. The FBI investigation determined that the services provided were so deficient that they were “worthless.” All three facilities lacked sufficient staff to care for the residents. The buildings were almost falling apart, with roof leaks never fixed and plastic sheets and barrels to catch dripping rainwater as their “solution”. The Housers also didn’t pay their vendors, including trash collectors, which created a rodent and bug infestation problem from the festering garbage. They also didn’t pay pharmacy and clinical laboratory services or food vendors. Kind employees of the nursing homes often used their own money to buy milk, bread, and other necessities for the residents so they wouldn’t starve and also used their own money for cleaning supplies or did the residents laundry at a laundromat or at their own homes.
What did the Housers do with all the money they were receiving and not using for the good of their patients? They used the millions to make investments, buy luxury homes and vehicles, expensive vacations, and nannies for their child. Mr. Houser also paid his ex-wife a nursing home salary, even though she never worked there, and bought her a house. United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “It almost defies the imagination to believe that someone would use millions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid money to buy real estate for hotels and a house while his elderly and defenseless nursing home residents went hungry and lived in filth and mold.”
This can be a nightmare situation for a family to discover an elderly loved one in these kinds of conditions. Aside from being liable for criminal penalties, which the Housers rightly deserve, there is civil liability in these situations as well. If a nursing home negligently caused illness, injury, or death to a loved one, the nursing home can be made to pay for the consequences of their actions. If you suspect nursing home neglect, the Alpharetta elder abuse attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter are available to assist with investigating these problems and determining future legal steps. Please call us at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.
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