In various nursing home abuse articles for Tennessee Law Blog and my various appearances on Tennessee Mornings, I have attempted, as a successful nursing home abuse lawyer, to communicate how nursing home lawsuits and fear of lawsuits help deter future cases of abuse and neglect in Tennessee nursing homes. Yesterday, news sources reported on a federal trial that I have been following closely, a case that shows how nursing home abuse lawsuits often lead to learning of more abuses. In this case, the ultimate result was prosecution of three corporate thieves that left their nursing homes unsafe and promoted abusive conditions so that they could line their pockets with moneys meant for taxes and providing quality nursing home care.
The three nursing home executives are finally facing sentencing at the end of what one U.S. Attorney has claimed to be one of the largest payroll tax fraud cases in the U.S. history. Prime culprit Gary Trebert faces ten years and a $500,000 fine and restitution after he and his two co-conspirators used the names of fictional companies and forged documents (including fake nursing facility licenses and Medicaid contracts) to take over 70 licensed nursing home facilities. Their deceitful business practices affected 6,000 nursing home residents and approximately 4,500 employees from Iowa to Texas.
By falsifying records, the three were able to scam the numerous nursing homes they owned through 150 fictitious corporations they created, ultimately defrauding U.S. taxpayers of $34 million. Investigations into charges of nursing home neglect and abuse led investigators to this discovery of fraud and how the stolen moneys were siphoned from their nursing homes to pay for the executives’ luxury cars, monthly international trips, and antiques.
From the federal court’s investigation, nursing home moneys that should have gone to providing quality care were also diverted by these white-collar criminals, moneys that would have funded proper supervision and prevented negligent care and abuse such as when one 54-year-old resident burned to death in his wheelchair at a facility that had been regularly fined for neglect and failing to meet basic health standards. At other nursing homes owned by the three, caregivers allegedly left a man in his own feces and urine for three hours until he died; caregivers left another resident in his feces and urine for so long that his skin came loose when he was finally moved; and in various cases caregivers failed to prevent thefts from residents or physical abuse.
If survivors and relatives of these abuses were forced to keep quiet because they signed arbitration provisions (one of the reasons I support the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Actpresently in Congress) or did not have the courage and dedication to pursue their respective nursing home abuse cases, these three executive crooks would likely still be free and their nursing homes perpetuating the horrors happening in Tennessee worst nursing homes. Even if you only have a suspicion of abuse or neglect, I advise you to contact my Nashville law office to speak with a lawyer about suspected nursing home abuse. Click here for our nursing home abuse attorney form or give our lawyers a call at (615) 353-0930.