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Feds claim nursing home owner pocketed money intended for storm shelter prior to disastrous hurricane evacuation
BATON ROUGE - An embattled, Baton Rouge-based businessman who was criminally charged after he had hundreds of nursing home residents evacuated to a makeshift shelter during Hurricane Ida is now under the microscope of federal investigators after he allegedly pocketed millions of dollars from his nursing homes' bank accounts.
The U.S. Department of Justice says the federal government has filed a complaint against Bob Dean Jr. alleging that he misappropriated funds from at least four different nursing homes: Maison De’Ville Nursing Home – Houma, Maison De’Ville Nursing Home of Harvey, Maison Orleans Healthcare of New Orleans, and West Jefferson Health Care Center.
According to the complaint, Dean had the four nursing homes pay "rent" to cover a hurricane evacuation center. In reality, that facility was an industrial warehouse that was crudely converted into a storm shelter in preparation for Hurricane Ida in August 2021.
The evacuation, which involved relocating more than 800 people from seven different facilities across southeast Louisiana, would end in multiple deaths as evacuees reported living in nightmarish conditions inside the overloaded and ill-prepared shelter.
"After residents arrived, sanitation was not maintained, and the nursing homes’ staff did not prepare sufficient food, provide wound care, or ensure adequate medical care and support for the residents," the Department of Justice wrote in a statement.
Days after the storm, the Louisiana Department of Health staged a day-long rescue where it removed the evacuees, and the state revoked the licenses of Dean's nursing homes soon afterward.
The rent payments that were supposed to fund the shelter, totaling more than $1 million, were paid out to one of Dean's businesses, and rather than using those funds to prepare the warehouse, Dean funneled much of that money into his personal bank accounts, the DOJ claims.
The complaint further alleges that Dean had his bookkeeper "sweep" the accounts of those nursing homes and transfer the millions of dollars into his personal bank accounts, using that money to "purchase personal goods and services, including antiques, firearms, and cars, and to fund allowances for his family members."
In total, Dean is accused of misusing more than $4 million in nursing home assets.
“Dean’s alleged actions represent a gross disregard for human life and our most vulnerable community,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Lawler of HUD Office of Inspector General said. “HUD OIG will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to diligently pursue, investigate, and hold accountable bad actors who willfully misuse and mismanage Federal assets and place HUD beneficiaries in harm’s way.”
Last year, Dean's insurance paid $15 million to settle a lawsuit with the families of those nursing home residents who were caught up in the evacuation. He is also facing eight felony counts of cruelty to persons with infirmities, five felony counts of Medicaid fraud, and two felony counts of obstruction of justice from the Louisiana Department of Justice.
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