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Defrauding Mississippi’s Seniors: Family Spotlighted on Today Show, What You Can Do

NEW YORK, N.Y.–If hearing about elderly people being defrauded by nursing home administrators in Mississippi makes you angry, you should know that it’s happening all over the country and the “Today Show” spotlighted a Mississippi case last week to help make everyone aware and to help to keep it from happening to your family.

The show profiled Leo and Phyllis Foster, who put his elderly mother in the Vicksburg Convalescent Center, where she was taken advantage of by administrator Lee Martin. Martin went on a well-documented shopping spree at JC Penny’s American Eagle and The Gap, with Foster’s mom’s money.

She used other people’s cards and cash, too, even buying a pair of jeans with a resident’s card and the resident had no legs.

“It made me sick at my stomach,” said Phyliss Foster. “It just didn’t dawn on me that somebody would be so low as to steal from a vulnerable adult.”

“In most states there are no audit requirements, the people who do the books for these nursing homes really aren’t looking closely at these trust funds,” said Peter Eisler, an investigative reporter for USA Today, who published a piece exposing nursing home fraud crimes.

Atty. Gen. Jim Hood told Today that he’s found that embezzlers usually repeat their crimes.

“I think we ought to have criminal background checks for anybody who works at a nursing home facility,” he said.

What you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen to you? According to Today you should ask the nursing home for a monthly statement and request a receipt for any purchases that are made for your loved ones.

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