Since 2010, more than 3,000 people in Georgia have been charged with elder abuse crimes. Unlicensed facilities have been a problem in Georgia for many years.
This particular instance of abuse was uncovered, when area residents contacted local authorities about elderly people approaching people and begging for food.
WABE’s recent report, “‘Horrific’ Elder Abuse Case Highlights Crackdown On Unlicensed Ga. Facilities,” says those complaints resulted in the arrest of three people in what was described by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, as a “horrific elder abuse scheme.’’ The residents of the apartments were deprived of health care, shelter, and necessary sustenance, the AG said. The scheme also stole the residents’ Social Security benefits.
Unlicensed personal care homes have been a problem in Georgia for some time. Personal care homes are expected to provide food, lodging, and some personal care, if needed. The residents of these facilities include seniors and people with mental illnesses and disabilities.
Georgia law enforcement has charged more than 3,000 people with elder abuse crimes since 2010. Residents are often neglected, abused and financially exploited.
In December, Michelle Oliver, Harold Hunt and Cynthia Riley were charged in a 17-count indictment with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, along with neglect, exploitation and intimidation of disabled or elderly adults.
Abuse of the elderly and the disabled has become a top priority for law enforcement in Georgia, according to the GBI.
“Abuse, neglect or exploitation of older or at-risk adults will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General Carr at a recent news conference. “We will investigate and prosecute anyone engaging in these criminal activities in our state, and we will hold the abusers accountable.”
The Department of Community Health, which licenses and regulates health care facilities in Georgia, said it has investigated 250-300 complaints about alleged unlicensed facilities in the past three years, and they have found that 30% of these are unlicensed care homes.
Melanie McNeil, Georgia’s long-term care ombudsman, acknowledged that this has been an on-going problem in the state, but that Georgia recognizes the problem and has developed training and collaboration between law enforcement, prosecutors and state agencies to rescue residents and go after perpetrators.
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