Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Caretaker ‘preyed’ on home care residents left begging for food, Georgia officials say

By Tanasia Kenney

An Atlanta woman gets a 20-year sentence after she’s accused of neglecting disabled and older adults living in her unlicensed personal care home in Georgia, state authorities said. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Residents of a home care facility were promised “housing, meals and other services,” but were instead left without cash and begging for food, according to the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. 

Now, an Atlanta woman is headed to prison. 

Michelle Oliver was given a 20-year sentence, with the first seven years to be served in prison, after she was convicted Sept. 8 on charges related to the neglect of older, disabled adults living in an unlicensed personal care home she owned, state authorities said.

A Dougherty County jury found her guilty on multiple charges including willful deprivation of an elder person and 51 counts of financial exploitation of a disabled adult, according to a news release.

 Investigators said Oliver, who owned the Miracle One Care Center, also pocketed more than $32,000 from residents between December 2016 and September 2017, all while still depriving them of basic needs. An investigation found residents were often left alone in filthy homes with no furniture, air conditioning or access to clean clothes.

“Michelle Oliver preyed upon some of our state’s most vulnerable and in-need citizens,” Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement. “She systematically neglected those she had promised to help, all while taking their money but leaving them with nothing in return.” 

In December 2016, Oliver moved several residents from the Atlanta area into “a series of duplexes” nearly 200 miles away in Albany, according to authorities. The Georgia Department of Human Services, along with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and other state agencies, launched an investigation after a complaint from a concerned citizen about the Albany facility. 

In addition to the dirty conditions, investigators said residents were deprived of food despite Oliver hiring a “cook” who prepared meals in the morning “but left before the lunch hour.”

“Due to the residents’ disabilities, they did not have access to their own money and were left to beg neighbors and nearby stores for food on a near daily basis,” state authorities said. 

A financial payee who took residents’ monthly payments pleaded guilty to charges in the case last year, according to the attorney general’s office. 

The residents were eventually moved out of the duplexes, many of which the Albany Code Enforcement deemed “unfit for human occupation,” authorities said.

Albany is about 90 miles southeast of Columbus.

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