October 29, 2013
Resident Drowned in Pool of Defendants’ Private Residence, an Illegally Operated Group Home
Las Vegas, NV – Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announced today the sentencing of a husband and wife involved with a group home facility in Las Vegas.
“We have an obligation to protect the elderly citizens in our state and to ensure they are not harmed or being placed into situations where they could be harmed,” said Attorney Masto. “Prosecuting these cases promotes the need to keep elderly citizens safe from people that are contracted to provide goods and services to them as well as promoting the need to have proper licensure to operate facilities to care for the elderly.”
William Alston, 38, of Las Vegas, who owns Williams Personal Home Care (WPHC), and Leni Alston, 44, of Las Vegas, who managed the facility, were sentenced for two gross misdemeanor offenses each of neglect of an elderly person by Clark County District Court Judge James Bixler. Both received 364 days, suspended, 100 hours of community service, and were ordered to pay $40,000 in restitution. William and Leni Alston were also placed on three years of probation as part of the case.
The investigation by the Nevada Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) began after information was obtained from the Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance (BHCQC) as well as the North Las Vegas Police Department that a drowning of an elderly person had happened at the personal residence of William and Leni Alston. The investigation revealed that the Alstons were providing care to elderly residents at their personal residence which was not a licensed facility. Inspection of the unlicensed personal residence revealed that there were no alarms on the sliding glass door leading to the backyard. There were also no safety gates or enclosures surrounding the pool in the backyard. Due in part to the lack of safety measures, a resident of the home drowned in the pool. By not having a license to run a medical facility at their personal residence, the Alstons circumvented the regulatory requirements of a group home, including the requirement of having a fence around the pool. This circumvention subjected residents to situations where they could have suffered physical pain or mental suffering.
The investigation further revealed that the Alstons were also running WPHC, a licensed facility. WPHC was previously cited by BHCQC for being over populated due to having more than two residents residing at the facility. The investigation revealed that five residents were living at WPHC at the time of the drowning incident at the Alstons’ personal residence. Due to being previously cited by BHCQC, the Alstons were knowingly operating WPHC over their population requirements yet again. As a result of not being properly licensed to care for more than two residents at WPHC, the Alstons were circumventing the rules and regulations of operating a group home facility. Circumvention of these rules created a situation where residents of WPHC were placed in a situation where they could have suffered physical pain or mental suffering.
Persons convicted of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of the elderly may also be administratively excluded from future Medicaid and Medicare participation.
The case was investigated and prosecuted by the Nevada Attorney General’s MFCU, which investigates and prosecutes financial fraud by those providing healthcare services or goods to Medicaid patients. The MFCU also investigates and prosecutes instances of elder abuse or neglect. Anyone wishing to report suspicions regarding any of these concerns may contact the MFCU at 702-486-3420 or 775-684-1100.
The case was prosecuted by Andrew Schulke, Senior Deputy Attorney General.
(Photos courtesy of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)