Attorney General Cuomo Announces Arrests Of Two Health Care Workers For Abusing Elderly Residents In Rochester Area Nursing Homes
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (January 29, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the arrests of two healthcare workers for allegedly abusing elderly residents in separate incidents at Rochester area nursing homes.
Monique Jones, 32, of Rand Street in Rochester, is accused of kicking an 88-year-old resident in his ribs while employed as a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) at the Kirkhaven Nursing Home on Alexander Street in Rochester. Nellie Weller, 47, of Grecian Garden Drive in Rochester, is accused of tying a 76-year-old resident’s nightgown around his neck and legs, leaving him unable to move or even use his urinal. Weller was employed as a CNA at the Edna Tina Wilson Living Center on Island Cottage Road in Greece.
"Thousands of New Yorkers and their families depend on nursing home aides and healthcare professionals to provide vital services to their loved ones," said Attorney General Cuomo. "For any of these caregivers to abuse the trust we place in them is reprehensible, and my office will continue to intervene on behalf of vulnerable New Yorkers to ensure safe and quality care."
Jones was arraigned today in Rochester City Court before Judge J. Scott Odorsi, while Weller was arraigned in Greece Town Court before Justice Charles A. Schiano. Both were charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person and willful violation of the health laws. The maximum penalty for each charge is one year in prison. Both Jones and Weller were released on their own recognizance. Jones will return to court on February 9 and Weller is due back in court on March 19.
Both Jones and Weller were terminated from their positions at the nursing facilities.
Attorney General Cuomo has made protecting New York’s most vulnerable from abuses by health care professionals one of his office’s top priorities. To date, his ongoing nursing home investigations, including the use of hidden cameras, have led to the arrests or convictions of more than 49 nursing home employees across New York state.
New Yorkers are urged to report cases of suspected fraud to the Attorney General’s toll-free Medicaid Fraud Hotline, at 1-866-NYS-FIGHT (697-3444).
Attorney General Cuomo thanked the administration and staff of the Edna Tina Wilson Living Center and Kirkhaven Nursing Home for their cooperation and assistance in these investigations.
These cases are being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Timothy McFarland of Attorney General Cuomo’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s Rochester Regional Office. Assisting in the investigations are Senior Special Investigator Douglas Hinchey and Special Investigator Debra Clementi.
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.