Seven people were indicted in an abuse and trafficking scheme in which they allegedly neglected disabled and elderly adults in Georgia and used their Social Security funds for their own benefit, authorities said.
The suspects were indicted July 30 on various charges related to physical and financial abuse, according to a news release from Attorney General Chris Carr’s office.
According to authorities, the West family — Valerie, Erica and Eric — operated homes for elderly and disabled adults. Those homes were unsafe, bug-infested and at times lacked electricity and hot water, the news release said.
Authorities said the family also operated several health care corporations which they enrolled as Medicare providers. According to the release, the Wests trafficked victims between their homes and businesses and billed the government.
“This indictment stands for the right of disabled adults to be treated with respect and dignity and to be provided with certain basic amenities,” the District Attorney for the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit, Sherry Boston, said in the release. “We will not tolerate this abhorrent behavior in DeKalb County.”
The Wests were each charged with neglect to a disabled adult and depriving an adult of essential services — four counts of the latter for Valerie West and Eric West and two counts for Erica West.
Valerie West was also charged with terroristic threats, aggravated assault, exploitation of a disabled adult and identity fraud. The Conyers resident was arrested in DeKalb County.
Erica West was also charged with trafficking of a disabled adult, identity fraud and three counts of exploitation of a disabled adult.
The offices of Carr and Boston are jointly prosecuting the Wests and four others, who allegedly assisted the family in their scheme.
Cynthia Riley and Ceretha Stephens, registered advanced-practice professional nurses, served as the primary health care providers to the residents of the Wests’ homes and failed to report visible signs of neglect, such as bed-bug bites and residents reporting that they did not receive essential needs like medication, oxygen and feeding tubes, according to the release.
They have both been charged with failure to report neglect of a disabled adult. Riley, who also faces a neglect to a disabled adult charge, was arrested in January 2017 in a similar case.
Authorities said Akeem Dancy used his employment at a mental health facility to recruit individuals to the Wests’ homes, and Jadon Dancy participated in operating the various properties and businesses. They were each charged with trafficking of a disabled adult, the release said.
Valerie West, Erica West and Cynthia Riley turned themselves in to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and have been released on bond. Warrants are out for the arrests of the remaining four suspects.
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