OF THE RICH AND CROOKED
Nursing Home Owner Pleads Guilty to Cheating Residents out of Medicare Millions
Melville Borne Jr. lived
in the lap of luxury. He divided his time between two homes in Louisiana,
one of which was a $4 million, 150-acre riverside estate known as Annedelle
Gardens (shown above), with a refurbished historic plantation, man-made
ponds, exotic swans, and a staff that included two full-time groundskeepers.
His main residence -- in an exclusive, gated community near New Orleans
-- was no shack, either.
How did he finance
these extravagances? He cheated elderly patients in the three
nursing homes he owned.
- Grossly inadequate
- Threadbare bed linens
- Broken air conditioning
- Shortages of such
basics as soap, bandages and towels
- Limited food supplies
- Broken washing machines
- Critical therapeutic
equipment that rarely worked
- Limited social services
That's because instead
of using the millions of dollars in money he received from Medicare and
Medicaid to run his nursing homes, Borne was diverting it to pay the mortgage
and other costs at Annedelle Gardens, as well as the expenses of both a
development company and a construction company he owned -- in addition
to paying himself a generous salary of over $250,000 a year.
As if that wasn't
bad enough, he was also using the money nursing home employees
contributed to their 401(k) pension plans as an interest-free loan – first
taking it to pay his personal expenses and then sending it to the pension
plan months in arrears.
After a joint investigation
by the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services,
the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana,
and the FBI's New Orleans Office, Borne pled guilty in June to failing
to provide care and services to residents in his nursing homes – the
first plea of its kind. He also pled guilty to pension fund fraud.
Happy ending. We're
glad to say that new ownership of the three nursing homes brought them
up to code. Their elderly patients are now receiving good care and services.
We love these kinds
of turn arounds. In the words of Louis Reigel III, Special Agent in Charge
of our New Orleans Office: "Anyone preying on our elderly or defrauding
the government will be pursued through aggressive investigation."