A.G. Schneiderman Announces Indictment Of Aides Who Photographed Nursing Home Residents
Two Aides Recorded Images of 11 Residents At Three Suffolk County Facilities, Including Patients With Late-Stage Dementia
Schneiderman: These Actions Are Despicable, Illegal And Will Not Be Tolerated
SUFFOLK, N.Y. -- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a 15-count indictment charging two certified nurse aides (CNAs) with photographing eleven nursing home residents at three separate facilities, one of whom is also charged with texting one of the photographs to a friend. The pictures were taken without the knowledge or consent of the victims, many of whom were incapable of consenting and depicted bedsores and other disturbing images. Defendants David Rover and Thomas Mocera have each been charged with felony Unlawful Surveillance counts, among other charges, and face up to 4 years in prison.
“These illegal actions by two certified nursing home aides are abusive and alarming,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “These aides engaged in actions that are illegal and will not be tolerated in New York. The people engaged to take care of our most vulnerable citizens have a special responsibility, and I will do everything in my power to protect the right of every New Yorker to safe, respectful and quality care.”
All of the photographs and recordings were taken in the sanctity of the residents’ bedrooms without their consent. The investigation found that the images were taken between September 2009 and March 2013.
The investigation began when it was reported that David Rover, an aide at Woodhaven Nursing Home, on Route 112, Port Jefferson Station, NY, took a photograph with his cell phone camera of a resident’s genital area covered with feces and sent that photograph to a nurse aide student. Armed with a search warrant, Attorney General investigators seized Rover’s cell phone and discovered numerous photographs and recordings of residents at the three facilities. The images saved on the phone were taken by Rover, 25, and by Mocera, 23, both of Centereach, N.Y.
The two other homes where residents were victimized are Jefferson’s Ferry, located at 1 Jefferson Ferry Dr. in South Setauket, N.Y., and the Long Island State Veteran’s Home, a facility located at Stony Brook.
In one case Rover took more than a half dozen photographs of a nursing home resident’s gruesome bedsore. In another, he recorded a resident suffering with late stage dementia and riveted with fear. Mocera took pictures of a veteran in bed with his overflowing colostomy bag exposed. In another case, Mocera is seen teasing a dementia resident while she was lying in bed trying to grasp a cup of ice cream as he repeatedly moved it out of her reach.
The investigation further revealed that on two occasions, Rover intentionally falsified documents with the intent to defraud New York State. In one instance, Rover submitted a false document to the New York State Department of Labor as he attempted to secure unemployment insurance benefits by falsely indicating that his employment was terminated by Jefferson’s Ferry Nursing Home when in fact he abandoned his job there. Additionally, Rover defrauded the Long Island State Veteran’s Home by inflating his relevant work experience in an employment application.
Rover has been charged with seven counts of Unlawful Surveillance, one count of Dissemination of an Unlawful Surveillance Image and two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing. Mocera has been charged with five counts of Unlawful Surveillance. All the charges are felonies and the defendants face up to 1 and 1/3 to 4 years imprisonment, on each count, if convicted.
The defendants were arraigned yesterday before Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho.
The charges are accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Rover was initially arrested in March in this case. The indictment reflects new charges and an additional defendant. Please see the following link for further details: www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-announces-arrest-nurses-aide-caught-secretly-photographing-nursing.
Attorney General Schneiderman would like to thank The New York State Department of Labor for their cooperation, particularly Senior Special Investigator Jay Hong for his needed assistance. The Attorney General also thanks The New York State Veteran’s Home, Woodhaven Nursing Home and Jefferson’s Ferry for their assistance with this case.
The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Megan Gallagher of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s Hauppauge Regional Office, under the Supervision of Regional Director Jane Zwirn-Turkin, Special Deputy Attorney General Monica Hickey-Martin and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan. The investigation was conducted by Special Investigator Robert Joyce, under the supervision of Supervising Special Investigator Greg S. Muroff and Senior Investigator James A. Serra, all of whom work for the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the NYS Office of the Attorney General.