21 Charged In Connection With Assisted Living Scam in West Palm Beach

Nearly two dozen people were charged with fraud in West Palm Beach recently after authorities alleged they participated in an assisted living facility scam.

Theft charges in West Palm Beach can range from simple petty theft of a candy bar from a convenience store to an orchestrated burglary of a house. It can turn into a white collar crime if there is a concerted plan to steal money from an organization, insurer or business.
All of these charges require the skills and experience of a West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer. No defendant, regardless of the charges they face, deserve substandard legal counsel. In fact, the U.S. Constitution requires a defendant have a solid attorney representing them throughout the case.

In this situation, authorities allege that a Little Havana woman was creating fake credentials so that people could get jobs in assisted living facilities throughout South Florida. According to officials, the woman would charge several hundred dollars to people who were interested in getting one of these jobs.

Medical personnel are required to have specific skills in order to work at these facilities and in order to care for the disabled or elderly.

Officials said that an undercover agent approached the woman recently and asked for a health-based credential in order to get a job. The woman charged $200 and said she would be able to get a credential and a job for the agent working with children who had Down Syndrome.

The article by NBC Miami goes on to state that authorities recently shut down an assisted living facility because it was discovered that a majority of the workers had fraudulent and fake work credentials. Along with assisted living facility workers, private bus operators and three people classified as “ringleaders” have been arrested.

While many people have been charged and the general public may believe that these people are guilty, they are innocent until the state proves the charges beyond all reasonable doubt. In this case, that means that the state must have evidence to show that these people aren’t entitled to the credentials they have and that the woman created all of them.

In cases where multiple defendants are arrested, it’s likely the state will attempt to flip some of them to become state’s witnesses. This brings up credibility issues because the state is essentially asking for a person’s word in exchange for their freedom.

In these cases, what they say to police at the time of the crime, during a deposition before trial and on the witness stand must all be compared. Inconsistencies that show they are changing their story to favor the state’s case must be pointed out to the jury. In extreme cases, it’s possible to get those witnesses excluded for their bias.

This is at the heart of the fairness issue of a trial. A defendant must have the right to confront their witnesses, even if those witnesses were previously co-defendants. All aspects of the case must be challenged.

If you are arrested in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in South Florida, contact Leifert & Leifert at 954-523-9600 or 561-988-8000 for a free consultation.

More Blog Entries:

Fort Lauderdale fortune Tellers Get Bond, But Can They Get a Fair Trial?: September 3, 2011
Woman Accused of Selling Holocaust Survivors’ Identification in Fort Lauderdale: November 29, 2011
Additional Resources:

21 Arrested in Miami-Dade Assisted Living Facility Scam, by Brian Hamacher and Ari Odzer, NBC Miami

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