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Thefts Rampant in Nursing Homes Accross the U.S.

Reports of abuse and disregard of the elderly in nursing homes throughout the United States continue to surface. Our Chicago nursing home neglect lawyers at Pintas & Mullins wish to call public attention to this troubling fact.

A recent news article revealed that a 20-year-old woman employed at the Cedarbrook-Allentown home in South Whitehall, Pennsylvania was charged with pain patch medication theft. The woman is accused of stealing the patches directly off the bodies of two female residents.

Court records say that the woman, Briana Lee Hartzag, stole Fentanyl Duragesic patches from the body of a non-verbal and bed-bound resident on two separate days and the same type of patch from a resident in the dementia care unit. Based on shift schedules and the information provided by employees and witnesses, Hartzag committed these crimes against residents she did not usually care for and while she was off-duty. Additionally, Hartzag allegedly stole four Marine Corps coins worth more than $200 from a nearby Pennsylvania home and sold them to a jewelry store.

The roommate of the bed-bound woman gave Cedarbrook officials a description of the person who stole the 100-mg patches, which matched Hartzag’s appearance. The patches removed from the bed-bound patient were worth $53 and that stolen from the dementia care resident was worth $26.

An arrest warrant was approved in December. The accused was taken into custody and charged with three counts of receiving stolen property and three counts of theft by unlawful taking. She was arraigned by an on-duty District Judge and committed to prison in lieu of $10,000 bail for each case.

In related news, the Billings Gazette reported that a former nursing home employee who was accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a 100-year-old resident would soon face District Court.

The 34-year-old woman took advantage of the elderly dementia resident to write checks for herself and pay her bills. The resident was staying at Shepherd of the Valley Healthcare Center in Casper, Montana, where the woman was employed as a certified nursing assistant. Unfortunately, financial exploitation of this sort is not uncommon in American nursing homes, especially among residents with cognitive disorders.

Financial exploitation is not the only crime committed within nursing homes, however. One North Carolina man with a history of arson sentences was recently found guilty of setting fire to the assisted living facility in Apex he was living in. The 50-year-old was charged with first-degree arson and put in jail under a bond of $250,000.

More than 50 residents and employees were inside the Brookridge Assisted Living Center when the fire erupted, although no one was injured. Fortunately, the fire was confined to a utility room. One Ohio nursing home was not as lucky earlier this year when authorities charged staff with causing a fire that resulted in the death of one resident.

The Clark County Ohio Sheriff’s office said the fire in the storage room was set intentionally. Surveillance video showed the 19-year-old suspect very close to the storage room just moments before the fire started. The accused was charged with two counts of aggravated arson and murder.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of senior abuse or neglect, you must seek the assistance of a nursing home neglect attorney to be aware of your legal rights and receive maximum compensation for the neglect.