Ex-nursing home leader gets prison for stealing $300,000 from veteran

A former Georgia nursing home administrator is going to federal prison for stealing more than $300,000 in disability benefits from a Vietnam veteran who was a resident of the facility.

Denise M. Bailey, 49, of Danielsville spent the money on personal expenses, including paying off family credit card bills, U.S. Attorney John Horn said Monday.

The veteran, who was not identified, “…was not capable of managing his financial affairs,” said Special Agent in Charge Monty Stokes with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Horn said Bailey was the administrator at Azalea Gardens in Conyers, where one of the residents was a Vietnam veteran who needed long-term care after suffering a heart attack in 2006. The VA appointed Bailey the fiduciary for the veteran in December 2010, and she was to use any of the veterans benefits he was awarded only for his needs.

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, Horn said. Bailey drained the account within four days, he said. She transferred the money from that account to the Azalea Gardens account, then herself or accounts she controlled.

During the VA investigation, Bailey submitted fraudulent bills to try and justify the payments, Horn said, 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, Horn said.

On July 7, 2015, Bailey pleaded guilty to misappropriating veterans funds while acting as a fiduciary.

Bailey, 49, was sentenced to one year in prison and two years of supervised release. A decision on restitution owed to the veteran’s family is to be made later.

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