|July 19, 2010
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that a Hardee County woman has been taken into custody on charges that she was operating three assisted living facilities without a license and neglecting elderly adults under her care. Juanita Jackson Wright was arrested by law enforcement officers with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Hardee County Sheriff’s office.
The arrest resulted from a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s Patient Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation (PANE) Team and the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators determined that Wright, 52, was operating three assisted living facilities in Wauchula without a license. Wright currently has one licensed adult family care home and one licensed assisted living facility, but failed to license her three other facilities. Two of the three unlicensed facilities were condemned in June 2010 by the county building department as unfit for habitation. The conditions of the residences is the basis for the charges of neglect.
In order to legally and properly operate an assisted living facility, there are various administrative and operational requirements which must be met including: licensing procedures, staffing requirements, compliance with county health and local fire authority regulations, and the safe management of medication by trained personnel.
Wright has been charged with three counts of operating and/or maintaining an assisted living facility without a license, a third-degree felony, and two counts of neglect of an elderly or disabled adult, a third-degree felony. If convicted on all counts, Wright faces 25 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. The case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office for the 10th Judicial Circuit.
The PANE Team plays a key role in detecting abuse and neglect of elderly and disabled adults, helping to ensure that efficient and effective health care is being provided.