Four Charged with Abuse to Elderly, Disabled at Residential Care Facilities

TRENTON – Advancing its efforts to protect elderly and disabled individuals from abuse and neglect in institutional settings, the New Jersey Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) today announced charges against four defendants in three separate cases tied to residential care facilities.

Officials say the charges were contained in three separate indictments handed up by a state Grand Jury in Trenton today.

In the first indictment, two women employed as psych aides at Bancroft Neurohealth in Mt. Laurel, were charged with physically abusing a disabled resident in their care at the facility for developmentally disabled adults and children.

According to officials, Ms. Martha Ruiz, 25, of Camden, and Ms. Kendall Crouch, 24, of Clementon, who were assigned to care for the man during a shift on June 1, 2018, allegedly struck him in the face, twisted his hand and wrist, forcefully restrained him to his bed, and forced a urine-soaked towel on his face.

Both women were charged with conspiracy (3rd degree), neglect of disabled person (3rd degree), and endangering another person (4th degree) according to officials.

In the second indictment, a woman is accused of stealing approximately $20,530 from an elderly nursing home resident over whom she had power of attorney.

Officials say Ms. Karissa-Anne Frannicola, 29, of Caldwell, was charged with theft by failure to make disposition of property received and misapplication of entrusted property (both 3rd degree) in connection with thefts that occurred between April and August of 2017.

In the third indictment, a woman accused of assuming a false identity to work as a Certified Nurse Aide at the Barnegat Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Barnegat in November 2018.

According to officials Ms. Christine Sanford, 31, of Atlantic City, allegedly assumed the identity of another CNA to obtain work at the facility because her own Nurse Aide certification had been revoked by the New Jersey Department of Health in 2017 after she was found unqualified for certification pursuant to State law.

Police charged Sanford with forgery, identify theft, and uttering of false government documents (all 3rd degree).

The indictments obtained today stem from investigations conducted by OIFP’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (“MFCU”), which receives federal funding to investigate and prosecute Medicaid provider fraud as well as the abuse or neglect of Medicaid patients, or patients who reside in facilities that receive Medicaid funding.

Third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000; fourth-degree crimes carry a sentence of up to eighteen months in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $5,000.