Former Nursing Home Administrator Sentenced to Federal Prison for Stealing Veterans Benefits
ATLANTA – Denise M. Bailey, the former administrator of an assisted living facility, has been sentenced to federal prison for misappropriating over $300,000 in veterans benefits that belonged to one of the facility’s residents.
“While working as a nursing home administrator, the defendant stole disability benefits from a Vietnam veteran who lived in the nursing home,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn. “This disabled veteran was entitled to every penny of his disability award after honorably serving our country, and needed the money to live comfortably in assisted living – yet Bailey spent the money for her own personal expenses.”
Special Agent in Charge Monty Stokes, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General said, “today’s sentencing is the result of a joint effort to investigate and prosecute a VA fiduciary who embezzled funds from a veteran who was not capable of managing his financial affairs. We will continue to vigorously investigate those whose actions corrupt the integrity of VA fiduciary programs intended to care for our nation’s venerable veterans.”
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: Bailey was the administrator at Azalea Gardens, an assisted living facility located in Conyers, Georgia. One of the facility’s residents was a Vietnam veteran who needed long-term care after suffering a heart attack in 2006. In December 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs appointed Bailey to be the fiduciary for the veteran. As his fiduciary, Bailey agreed to use any veterans benefits awarded to the veteran only for his benefit.
On July 7, 2011, the VA awarded the veteran retroactive disability benefits in the amount of $313,452.37, which was deposited in an account held in the name of the veteran with Bailey as administrator. Bailey drained the account within four days. After transferring the money from that account to the Azalea Gardens account, Bailey transferred the majority of it to herself, or accounts controlled by her, and used a portion to pay off family credit cards bills. During the later VA investigation, Bailey submitted fraudulent bills in an attempt to justify the payments, falsely claiming that the veteran owed money to Azalea Gardens for extraordinary services. Bailey had not informed the veteran or his family about the VA payment or the alleged bills for these services.
Bailey, 49, of Danielsville, Georgia, was sentenced by United States District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr., to one year in prison and two years of supervised release. A decision will be made at a later date regarding the restitution amount still owed to Henderson’s family. On July 7, 2015, Bailey pleaded guilty to misappropriating veterans funds while acting as a fiduciary.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. Valuable assistance was also provided by the Conyers Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen H. McClain prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.