Richmond assisted living facility owner pleads guilty to health care fraud
The former owner of a Richmond-based assisted living facility pleaded guilty this week 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.
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.
“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.”
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.