It is difficult to imagine the level of inhumane actions that some people can take in order to benefit themselves. A horrendous crime of involvement in the death of a developmentally challenged patient was charged to three former personal caregivers in Fulton, Missouri. The scheme was operated through a hospice facility named Second Chance Homes. The home provided services through a Missouri Department of Mental Health Initiative.
A 55-year-old woman named Sherry Paulo and a 46-year-old man named Anthony Flores pleaded guilty to the crimes charged. They were caregivers in the care facility that they worked at. They were prosecuted in the federal court of the Western District of Missouri. They were charged to one count of intentional negligence in giving necessary medical care to the victim named C.D. This negligence led to serious health consequences and then death to the victim. In addition, they were also involved in healthcare fraud by forging records that potentially aided in the investigation of the case. The forger was plotted in order to cover up the death of the victim.
According to reports, the victim C.D. was developmentally challenged and was fully dependent on his personal assistants. C.D. resided at the care home since 2008. Paulo was the main person responsible for C.D. a short time before his demise.
Starting in 2014, the physical condition of C.D. was apparently worsening with his weight declining. But instead of getting C.D. properly checked and treated, Paulo gave up on C.D.’s regular health routine and appointments to the doctor. Rather than catering to his healthcare needs, Flores and Paulo just watched C.D.’s health deteriorate as he became thinner, pale with less appetite and energy overall. As this worsened, Paulo shifted C.D. regularly from his place at the center to Paulo’s place which was a basement. The situation in the basement was terrible. It was tiny and dingy. The two culprits did not get C.D. checked up at all. They did this in order to cover their negligence in caring for C.D.
Around September 2016, C.D.’s health became urgently critical. All the while, he was kept in the dark basement. Paulo and Flores did nothing to treat him and instead just watched him suffer and then die. The last time that C.D. was checked by a doctor in December of 2015.
Horribly though, the way they treated C.D. when he was alive was much better than how they treated him when he died. They dumped his body in a trashcan which was then put in a wooden crate. They filled this crate with cement at last. The three culprits kept the crate in a storage unit of Paulo. They carried out all these unthinkable actions in order to hide the fact that C.D. had died under their care. They were scared that they would be held responsible for the decrepit condition of C.D. at his death.
After C.D.’s death, Paulo went to great lengths to hide the death of C.D. She faked the presence of C.D. at the service center in many ways. She orchestrated pretenses like making other residents lie in C.D. ‘s bed when there were inspections, and go to doctor’s consultation posing as C.D. She also used the benefits card of the victim regularly to show that C.D. was alive. Many other documents of C.D. were also forged.
Furthermore, even after C.D.’s death, Paulo continued to claim reimbursements to Medicaid for services supposedly given to C.D. The claimed sum amounted to more than one hundred thousand dollars.
Only in April of 2017, Paulo reported to the police that C.D. was missing. The Missouri Police Department interrogated Paulo, Flores, and R.K. Flores regarding the victim. They lied that they had seen him the day before they reported the missing. But after a week of investigation, the culprits divulged the truth regarding the death of C.D as the police found the dead body.
Sherry Paulo was given a sentence of two hundred and ten months incarceration. Anthony Flores was given one hundred and eighty-eight months incarceration. R K Flores was sentenced to probation for three years.
Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division expressed how it is the duty of those giving personal assistance to the infirm to make sure that they are treated properly and also to safeguard them from any harm. Also, it is a major responsibility of the government to take care of everyone, especially those who are defenseless from being abused in any way. He further insisted that the horrendous fate of the victim, before and after the victim died, is not warranted for anyone. He assured that his office would continue to make sure that such crimes are curbed and those who commit such crimes are brought to the strictest justice.
U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison of the Western District of Missouri also commented about the case. He expressed his deepest disregard for the culprits who were entrusted to care for the infirm but ended up depriving the vulnerable of basic human rights and dignity. In fact, they not only deprived him of basic daily care but also did not attend to his critical needs that led to his death. He warned that the disclosure of the case proves that such crimes are always caught.
Timothy R. Langan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Kansas City, Missouri commented that the resolution of the case was because of the relentless efforts to bring justice to the vulnerable victims of such crimes. The criminals of this case not only neglected their duties towards the vulnerable but went on to cover up their inhumane crimes and also gain selfishly from the actions. He assured that his office works to ensure justice for the victims as well as punishment for the criminals.
Curt L. Muller, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General for the U.S Department of Health and Human Services described what a heinous crime the culprits had committed by abusing a developmentally challenged person and also cheating the funds of healthcare benefit programs to cover up their crimes. He also assured that his office would persist in checking such crimes through the collaboration with other agencies of the law.
The Jefferson City Resident Agency of the FBI Kansas City Division and the St. Louis Field Office of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General Kansas City Region inspected the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cindi Woolery and Gregg Coonrod of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Special Litigation Counsel Julia Gegenheimer and Trial Attorney Janea Lamar of the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section were responsible for the prosecution. The Fulton, Missouri Police Department, and Callaway County Prosecutor Christopher Wilson gave substantial assistance in the analysis of the case.
Nowadays, people use and abuse others so easily for their own selfish gains. There are many who scheme to gain quickly through illegal ways. With increasing fraud cases, it is possible for even the most cautious ones to be a victim of such frauds. Such complicated cases require special legal assistance to understand and help through. Being charged with such cases can cause serious stress to a person in various aspects. People who are in such a situation should seek proper legal assistance. The Healthcare Fraud Group stands to assist any person or organization that falls victim to such a situation. We aim to ensure you are represented most efficiently and effectively in the court of law. Please feel free to contact us at 888-402-4054 for free consultations.