Articles Posted in Financial abuse and exploitation

nursing homes not getting stimulus checks

Some Nursing Homes Are Taking Residents’ Stimulus Checks

The IRS began making stimulus payments on April 15, 2020. And for nursing home or assisted living facility residents on Medicaid, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has had to raise the alarm after several facilities have requested residents to sign checks over to keep their Medicaid benefits going. These facilities have no right to claim residents’ stimulus checks.

FTC’s Elder Justice Coordinator Lois Greisman says that facilities cannot request or take the funds, which are considered tax credits per the CARES Act. Those tax credits don’t count as “resources” for federal benefit programs like Medicaid, so the government cannot claim them, and neither can the nursing homes.

financial abuse of elderly in nursing homes

Finding Out If Someone Is Stealing Your Loved One’s Money

The Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans has reported nearly $1.7 billion worth of suspicious activities, including actual losses and attempts to steal older adults’ funds. Unfortunately, the elderly, especially nursing home residents, are easy victims of financial abuse. And officials say these occurrences likely only represent a small fraction of elder financial abuse incidences. Family members or someone the victim may know, such as a long-term care facility worker, are too often the guilty party in these cases.

Financial losses are almost always more significant when the older adult knows the suspect. In 2017, the average loss per person was about $50,000 when the older adult knew the suspect and $17,000 when the suspect was a stranger. This is because residents may be very trusting to their caregivers and family members. In addition, the National Council on Aging estimates that more than 20 percent of nursing home residents are victims of financial abuse, and residents who suffer from memory disorders such as dementia are taken advantage of more often. These patients have trusting behaviors and cognitive disabilities, making them highly susceptible to the exploitation or mismanagement of their personal funds.

manorcare for-profit facilities

Remember the Big Payout to Nursing Home Chain, HCR ManorCare?

The for-profit nursing home chain ManorCare went bankrupt with $7.1 billion in debt in 2018 over neglect and Medicare fraud allegations. The group operates about 15 facilities located throughout the Chicago area, primarily under the Heartland, ManorCare Health Services and Arden Courts brands. Prior to the bankruptcy, the chain was owned by the Carlyle Group, who bought the real estate in 2007 for $6.1 million. According to the Washington Post, the chain couldn’t make the $472 million a year rent payment, so instead, left its financial ruin to the takeover company, Quality Care Properties. Residents were found neglected, uncared for and living with painful bedsores and fall injuries, and without barely enough staff. An analysis of violation reports and records from the Illinois Department of Health shows:

  • Staff at a South Holland facility failed to prevent a woman from getting bedsores, and an infection led to her untimely death in 2010.

How to Prepare Your Nursing Home Complaint and Who to Contact

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulates and inspects Illinois nursing homes and long-term care facilities under the state’s licensing acts, regulations, and federal Medicare Conditions of Participation. The state’s 24-hour a day Nursing Home Hotline receives nearly 19,000 complaint calls each year.

finalcial abuse of elderly
Financial Abuse and Scamming Nursing Home Residents of Their Money

Several research studies, including an analysis by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimate that seniors in the U.S. are scammed out of anywhere from $3 billion to $37 billion a year. Those over age 70 lose an average of $10,000 to elder financial exploitation each year, and the losses are even higher when the scammer is a friend, trusted caregiver, or relative.

  • In 2018, the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans received over 180,000 encounters of suspicious elder financial exploitation (EFE), involving a total of more than $6 billion since 2013.

levin-perconti-nursing-home-abuse-shock

More Than 100 Illinois Nursing Homes Named in Final Violators Report of 2019

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has released its final and Fourth Quarter Report of Nursing Home Violators for 2019 highlighting nursing homes that failed to comply with mandatory state regulations. This report dates October 2019 through December 2019. It highlights 111 Illinois facilities, an increase from 71 in the third quarter. The facilities were cited for various violations of the Nursing Home Care Act, a statute that provides nursing home residents and their families with the assurance that proper and safe care will be received.

Illinois facilities with violations in quarter four of 2019 include:

Financial exploitation

Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park Stalls Courts, Exploited Resident Waits for Justice

Grace Watanabe is a 98-year-old Japanese American survivor of the World War II Japanese internment camps. Her time spent working for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helped her save for her retirement. As she aged, Ms. Watanabe required much more care and moved to Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park. Without any family, she had to make the choice to become increasingly reliant on the Symphony facility and staff, paying them more than $3,600 a month for her care. Shockingly, she was taken for much more. This is the most recent update of an alarming example of a vulnerable nursing home resident being financially exploited by care staff.

  • During Watanabe’s time at Symphony, seven workers wrongfully received more than $700,000 from her.

Elder Woman Struggling

Nursing Home Caregivers Charged with Financial Exploitation of Elderly Resident

Grace Watanabe is a 98-year-old woman who had her life savings robbed of her by two former nursing home caregivers employed at Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park, located at 2437 N. Southport Avenue in Chicago.

Last year, Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert, with the aid of Levin & Perconti attorneys Steven Levin and Mike Bonamarte, filed a civil lawsuit accusing the workers of stealing $750,000 from Watanabe while she was residing at Symphony of Lincoln Park from 2009 – 2018. It was her bank that flagged the suspicious account activity.

nursing home abuse

10 Ways Banks Can Help Prevent Elder Financial Exploitation

Not only are family members and financial caregivers watching out for financial abuse targeted at the elderly, including vulnerable nursing home residents, but banks and other financial institutions are also filing an increasing number of suspicious account reports (SARs). This year, the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans received over 180,000 encounters of suspicious elder financial exploitation (EFE), involving a total of more than $6 billion since 2013.

Noted in a 2019 report published by the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans, banks reported a total of $1.7 billion in suspicious activities in just 2017, including actual losses and attempts to steal the older adults’ funds.

healthcare fraud

Miami-Dade Nursing Home Owner Convicted in Largest U.S. Healthcare Fraud Scheme

Just last week, a 12-person jury deliberated for four days before finding Philip Esformes, a 50-year-old entrepreneur and owner of a network of 16 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida, guilty on 20 out of 26 charges related to healthcare fraud. This is believed to be the largest fraud scheme ever charged by the U.S. Justice Department and a reflection of the business owner’s greed through receiving kickbacks, money laundering and conspiracy to commit federal program bribery totaling $37 million. In an April 5th, 2019 public statement, prosecutors called him a “despicable,” “vampire” who was fueled by “unbounded greed.”

“Esformes exploited and victimized patients by providing inadequate medical care and poor conditions in his nursing homes. We will continue the fight against such parasites.”

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