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Serious cases of elder abuse at two nursing homes in the San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco Examiner
Liz Macera
March 25, 2010

Two serious cases of elder abuse came to light in SF Bay Area nursing homes this week--one a case of financial abuse and the second murder.

On Monday, March 22, 32 year-old Maximo Hong Fajardo Jr. of San Francisco allegedly smothered a nursing home resident, 87-year-old Barbara McIver, in full view of other residents and staff using a pillow. Although Fajardo has worked as a certified nursing assistant since 1999, he had worked only 2 weeks at Convalescent Center Mission Street at 5767 Mission St., near the Daly City border prior to the incident. He has no previous criminal record nor has a complaint ever been lodged against him.

Employees alerted police to the killing around 10 a.m., shortly after the suspect fled the home. Fajardo carjacked a Toyota Corolla outside the home and crashed it shortly thereafter at Geneva Avenue and Alemany Boulevard. He then stole a second car and was apprehended after he crashed it into a third car.

Authorities said Fajaro ran to 16th Street and De Haro and tried to steal yet another car, but that the driver resisted. Bystanders then chased him down and held him for police. He attempted to escape one more time while being questioned at the police station. He plead not guilty on March 24 and is being held on $10 million bail.

Across the Bay in Berkeley, Concepcion "Connie" Pinco Giron, 51, of San Pablo stole more than $50,000 from Carnell Williams and five other elderly residents, authorities said Monday.

Giron, formerly an assistant administrator of the Elmwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at 2829 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley, told a supervisor a year ago that Williams was being transferred to another care home.

In actuality, Giron allegedly moved into Williams into her own home and started cashing Williams' pension and Social Security checks. Williams was found in Giron's home in August 2009 and had apparently been cared for adequately. But Giron had also opened bank accounts at Citibank for five other patients in 2008 and transferred money from those accounts into her own bank account. Giron then allegedly wrote checks to herself from the residents' accounts and used their ATM cards.

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

Giron was arrested Monday. Alameda County prosecutors 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 was indicted yesterday.

Although most people who work in nursing homes are truly there to help elders, these incidents are unfortunately not isolated cases. One of every 20 elderly people in California will be a victim of neglect or physical, psychological, or financial abuse this year.

San Francisco Senior Care Examiner, Liz Macera, welcomes your feedback, queries, and story ideas via email. Information in this column is intended for health education purposes only and is not intended as personal medical advice.