Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced former employees of a Perry County nursing home have been arrested for multiple felony counts of exploitation for allegedly using residents’ personal funds to buy clothing, jewelry, shoes and makeup for themselves.
Jewel Darlene English, 48, and Sharla Renea Christie, 35, both of Perryville, were arrested last week following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. English was formerly the administrator of Perry County Nursing and Rehabilitation. Christie had been the nursing home’s office manager.
Both are accused of allegedly stealing from a trust account established to pay for residents’ personal expenses and needs.
English is alleged to have stolen from eight residents, and she was charged with six Class C felony and two misdemeanor exploitation counts. Christie is accused of stealing from four residents and has been charged with three felonies and one misdemeanor. The total amount taken from the trust account was $4,604.
“We intend to demonstrate in court that these individuals took money intended for the benefit of nursing home residents and used it for themselves,” McDaniel said. “We trust nursing home employees to care for our loved ones, not to spend our loved ones’ money on items like lipstick, jeans and costume jewelry.”
An investigator with the Attorney General’s Office found that English and Christie made a series of unauthorized withdrawals from the trust account between Sept. 21, 2012, and Nov. 21, 2012. They are accused of writing and signing checks from the account, cashing the checks, then using that money for their personal benefit.
Money taken from the account was used for purchases at Dillard’s, Merle Norman and The Buckle. None of the items purchased were authorized by the nursing home residents or their families and none of the items were found in possession of the residents.
Charges are merely accusations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.