In December, the Batavia Police Department arrested a 19-year-old Heritage Woods of Batavia assisted living facility employee on felony exploiting the elderly, forgery, and theft charges after she allegedly forged a $1,000 check to herself in November 2012. According to Batavia Police Detective Kevin Bretz, the senior citizen’s family members notified authorities of the alleged theft after they noticed a discrepancy while balancing the elderly woman’s checkbook. At the time of the 19-year-old caretaker’s arrest, Bretz said police believed the alleged theft was an isolated incident.
Since the young woman was initially charged, a number of other individuals contacted both the assisted living facility and local police regarding additional cases of suspected theft. Bretz stated at least five alleged victims were identified after bank statement discrepancies were uncovered. The 19-year-old now faces 13 felony charges in connection with the alleged incidents. Bretz did not specify the total amount of money the assisted living facility caretaker is accused of taking from residents. He added that police are hopeful all of the young woman’s purported victims have now come forward.
According to a Heritage Woods administrator, the 19-year-old is no longer employed at the facility. She also stated that the young woman passed a background and fingerprint check that was conducted prior to her employment. If convicted, the 19-year-old faces up to five years in prison for each felony count.
Currently, more than 100,000 elderly Illinois residents reside in about 1,300 long-term care facilities across the state. Data from the National Center on Elder Abuse suggest that about one million senior citizens are abused or neglected across the nation each year. In addition, such abuse is allegedly grossly underreported. Elder abuse may include any knowing or careless act that causes physical, emotional, or financial harm to an aged person. Signs of abuse by a caregiver can include general uncleanliness, unexplained physical injuries, a fear of being left alone with caretakers, bedsores, and reports of missing personal items.
Sadly, theft at a long-term care facility is a commonly overlooked form of elder abuse. Despite that numerous laws are in place to protect skilled nursing facility residents, they still run the risk of falling victim to mistreatment such as financial abuse. As purportedly occurred in this case, unscrupulous employees may choose to steal from long-term care facility residents. Regrettably, more than seven percent of all financial abuse cases across the country were reportedly committed by a nursing home or assisted-living facility caregiver. If you suspect a skilled nursing or other long-term care facility patient was physically, emotionally, or financially abused by an individual tasked with his or her care, you should contact a skilled nursing home abuse and neglect attorney immediately.
If someone close to you was the victim of financial or other abuse while residing in an Illinois long-term care facility, do not hesitate to give the hardworking lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. a call at (312) 924-7575. Our experienced Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to help you protect the rights of your elderly and disabled friends and family members. For a free consultation with a knowledgeable advocate, please contact Abels & Annes, P.C. through the law firm’s website.
West Suburban Senior Services Opens Elder Abuse Forensic Center in Forest Park, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, February 15, 2013
Additional Community Partnership Programs Designed to Improve Elder Care in Illinois and Nationwide Announced, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, February 10, 2013
More charges in Batavia assisted living center thefts, forgeries, by Harry Hitzeman, Daily Herald
Police: Batavia retirement home employee forged resident’s check, by Harry Hitzeman, Daily Herald