The Florida Office of the Attorney General announced the arrest of a Hernando County, FL woman who allegedly operated an assisted living facility without a license.
The woman was arrested Thursday by law enforcement officers with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the arrest.
She was charged with one count of operating an assisted living facility without a license, a third-degree felony.
According to Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi, the case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office for the Fifth Judicial Circuit.
If this woman is convicted of operating an assisted living facility without a license, she could face up to five years in prison along with a $5,000 fine. In most states, like Florida, assisted living facility programs must be licensed and can only provide select services according to state laws. Likewise, assisted living programs must comply with health and safety laws. State regulations on these facilities are quite strict and rules can range from mandatory locks on certain doors to what ingredients can be used to prepare meals.
Prosecutors in the state of Florida view proper licensing as one of the most important elements in guaranteeing quality care at an assisted living facility as well as nursing homes and group homes, which is why there is a large focus on law enforcement to arrest owners of unlicensed facilities. Licensed facilities must adhere to firm government requirements regarding employment, medication management, and compliance with fire and safety codes. Florida law states that without a proper license it is illegal to provide housing, meals and services for more than 24 hours to adults who are not relatives of the owner or administrator of the assisted living facility.
State officials typically review assisted living facilities at least once a year to ensure there are no violations of laws regarding health and safety. A facility can only be licensed if all health and safety codes are up to par. The State views unlicensed facilities as extremely dangerous and generally pushes for maximum penalties, even though a license does not ensure a facility will not commit neglect or abuse to residents. Many times charges of Medicaid fraud follow an arrest for operating an assisted living facility without a license. It is extremely important to consult with an attorney experienced in these areas immediately following your arrest. It is not uncommon for the attorney general’s office to create criminal charges based on false accusations. Depending on circumstances unique to your case, the Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton may be able to negotiate a positive outcome for your case.
If you or a loved one has been accused of operating an assisted living facility without a license in Spring Hill, Brooksville or throughout the state of Florida, contact the Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at the Law Offices of Whittel & Melton, LLC online or reach us at our main office in Hernando County at 352-666-2121 or dial us statewide and toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).