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Nursing home worker accused of bilking patients


Original source:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/22/BA1C1CJNAL.DTL

San Francisco Chronicle
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
March 23, 2010

A former administrator at a Berkeley nursing home has been charged with kidnapping an 85-year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease. The victim was allegedly held for a year in the home of the former administrator, who stole her pension and Social Security checks.

Concepcion "Connie" Pinco Giron, 51, of San Pablo stole more than $50,000 from Carnell Williams and five other elderly patients, authorities said Monday.

The investigation began in August when agents from the state attorney general's Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse received a complaint about Giron, who at the time was the assistant administrator of the Elmwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at 2829 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley.

A year earlier, investigators concluded, Giron told a supervisor at the convalescent center that Williams was being transferred to another care home. There were no such plans, however - instead, Williams allegedly moved into Giron's home and Giron started cashing Williams' pension and Social Security checks.

Giron had also opened bank accounts at Citibank for five other patients in 2008 and began transferring money from those accounts into her own bank account, Department of Justice Special Agent Mark Trueblood wrote in a court document outlining the grounds for Giron's arrest.

Giron allegedly wrote checks to herself from the patients' accounts and used their ATM cards. She also allegedly stole cash from patients' trust accounts that the Berkeley nursing home maintained.

Williams was physically unharmed when she was found in Giron's home in August 2009, and had been decently fed and cared for, authorities said.

The other alleged victims are identified in court records as Lottie McDonald, 97; Doris Polk, 77; Marvin Brown, whose age was unavailable; Jeanne Butterfield, 78; and Joseph Bontempo, 79. All lived at the Berkeley convalescent center.

In 2008, Giron also convinced Polk's son that he needed to pay an extra $600 per month in cash to keep his mother in the convalescent center, authorities said. The son made the payments for 18 months, but Giron pocketed them, investigators said.

"This is a shocking case of nursing-home abuse and a gross violation of trust," said state Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Ricky Bautista, Elmwood's administrator, said Monday that Giron had served as the home's business office manager. She left before his arrival last year, he said, adding that the case was "an isolated incident." Giron was arrested Monday. Alameda County prosecutors have charged her with kidnapping to commit another crime, false imprisonment, elder abuse and six counts of theft from elder or dependent adults by a caretaker. She is being held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in lieu of $365,000 bail and is to be arraigned Wednesday.

E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.