Updated: September 25, 2019 02:43 PM
The former owner, managers and employees of a Hill City care center face dozens of charges, according to the office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
Ten people are charged with a collective 76 counts of manslaughter, assault, neglect, racketeering, theft, operating a comprehensive home-care facility without a license, concealing the proceeds of these crimes, perjury and obstructing the state's criminal investigation, Ellison's office said. They are the former owner, managers and employees of Chappy's Golden Shores, a now-closed assisted-living facility in Hill City.
Former owner of Chappy's, Theresa Lee Olson, faces 25 charges, including one count of manslaughter for her conduct in the death of a Chappy's resident. The others charged include Benjiman Howard Swanson, with whom Olson shares an infant child; Olson's sister, Lisa Michelle Anderson; Olson's daughter, Monika Lynn Olson; Olson's niece, Janiece Freelove Mattson-Olson; Alexcis Elizabeth Hines; Christina Michelle Meagher; Kristin Marie Davis; Susan Joyce Ellis and Georgia Louise Salomonson.
Chappy's Golden Shores has been the subject of repeated disciplinary and administrative actions by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS).
The Attorney General's Office opened a criminal investigation into Chappy's Golden Shores in early 2019. The Attorney General's office said investigators reviewed over 1 million pages of evidence and conducted dozens of interviews.
The office said the investigation revealed that Olson and certain Chappy's employees subjected multiple residents to neglect by failing to provide them with proper health care, supervision, food or shelter. In one case, a 72-year-old Marine Corps veteran who started residing at Chappy's in October 2017 died a year later from septic shock, an untreated urinary tract infection, and dysphasia and pneumonia complications which resulted from improper medical care and neglect.
It also indicated that Olson, with help from the manager and several employees, bilked the state's Medicaid program of over $2.1 million from 2017 to 2019 by billing for health care services that did not occur or were not covered by the Medicaid program.
The office alleges that after MDH suspended the license for Chappy's, Olson sold it to her daughter for $1, renamed it to "Mont Royal" and applied for licensure from MDH. When the application was denied, they continued to house residents and provide them with unlicensed health care services.
Furthermore, prosecutors allege the defendants had an extensive and coordinated effort to conceal evidence of fraud and maltreatment, falsify records and convince witnesses to provide false or misleading answers to investigators. A whiteboard seized appeared to be a script for employees to follow when answering investigators' questions, the office said.
After MDH began investigating Chappy's, the Attorney General's office said Olson and her husband withdrew over $1.7 million from Chappy's bank account. When Chappy's license was suspended, Olson sold two buildings to Monika Olson and Benjiman Swanson for $1, the office alleges.
The Attorney General's office is prosecuting the case because it was referred to the office by the Aitkin County Attorney, and because it has original criminal jurisdiction over cases of Medicaid fraud.
Theresa Olson's lawyer provided the following statement to KSTP on behalf of his client:
"We are reviewing the charges and awaiting receipt of the State's evidence. Ms. Olson maintains her innocence and looks forward to her vindication in court."
Updated: September 25, 2019 02:43 PM
Published: September 24, 2019 12:00 AM
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