Woman gets 30 years for exploiting elderly, disabled adults

A DeKalb County woman was sentenced to 30 years — 20 behind bars — for exploiting elderly and disabled adults in her care.

Bobbie Ward, 50, was also ordered to pay $14,229 in restitution to one of the victims, according to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office. Ward, a former Cedar Grove Middle School secretary, was convicted last month on 21 charges stemming from her treatment of six adults in her care over a five-year period.

The charges included neglect of disabled and elderly adults, exploitation of disabled and elderly adults, false imprisonment of an elder person, forgery in the first degree and 13 separate counts of identity fraud.

“This sentence sends a resounding message that elder and disabled adult exploitation will not be tolerated in DeKalb County,” District Attorney Robert James said in emailed statement. “She relentlessly preyed on vulnerable adults and exploited them for her own personal financial gain.”

Prosecutors contend that Ward took disabled and elderly adults into her home and then housed them in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, while proving inadequate food and medication. She then used their identities to make a profit for herself.

One elderly victim who had been locked in his room escaped from her house through a window, breaking his foot, James said. Ward took money from the victims’ bank accounts and forged their names on government checks without their permission, according to evidence presented in court.

Ward was first indicted on the charges in 2011, then re-indicted last year when more victims were discovered. She was arrested March 8, 2012, on her birthday, for failing to show up for a court appearance and has remained jailed since then, records show.

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