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Owner of Richmond assisted living facility pleads guilty to stealing $800K in residents’ benefits

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A courtroom.(KEYC)
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 4:27 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 8:37 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The former owner of the now-shuttered Jones & Jones assisted living facility in Richmond has pleaded guilty to health care fraud after diverting more than $800,000 in federal and state benefits that were intended to pay for the care of the facility’s vulnerable residents.

Mable B. Jones, 78, of Richmond, owned and operated the facility that was supposed to care for people who are disabled, elderly and who have mental health diseases like schizophrenia.

Jones’ charges came after a multipart NBC12 investigation into neglect and potential fraud at the long-term care facility, off Forest Hill Avenue- at the hands of Jones, its owner and administrator. In a series of reports, NBC12 On Your Side Investigator Allison Norlian uncovered dire conditions and a slew of violations. A video also surfaced of possible abuse towards an elderly woman at the facility.

From December 2015 to 2019, Jones is accused of diverting more than $800,000 of residents’ federal and state social security benefits for her own personal use.

“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.”

Court documents show residents were faced with deplorable conditions like a bed bug infestation, soiled, wet and blood-stained linens, soiled and ill-fitting clothing, and a list of building violations- some unsanitary or unsafe.

Richmond Police detective Patrick Ripley began investigating after many residents were found wandering the street near the facility, begging for money. That triggered investigations from the Department of Social Services, and other state and local authorities.

“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.”

Jone is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 11, 2022. She faces up to 10 years in prison.

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