NEW ORLEANS – The owner of seven Louisiana nursing homes, who sent more than 800 of his elderly residents to an overcrowded, ill-equipped warehouse to survive Hurricane Ida last year, was arrested Wednesday on fraud and cruelty charges stemming from the abject conditions .
Bob Glynn Dean Jr., 68, had already lost state licenses and federal funds for herding residents into a facility in the town of Independence, about 70 miles northwest of New Orleans. There, authorities said they found sick and elderly bedridden people on mattresses on the wet floor, some screaming for help, others lying in their own waste. Some had arrived without their medication, according to a doctor. Civil lawsuits against Dean’s company said the ceiling leaked, the toilets in the muggy warehouse overflowed, and there was a shortage of food and water.
On Wednesday, Dean was in custody in Tangipahoa Township and was charged with Medicaid fraud, cruelty to the sick and obstruction of justice.
Dean’s attorney, John McClindon, said Dean was notified of the warrant for his arrest earlier this week. Dean, a Georgia resident, flew to Louisiana and turned himself in Wednesday. McClindon said Dean should be released on $350,000 bail.
Attorney General Jeff Landry said the criminal charges stem from allegations that Dean billed Medicaid for dates when its residents at the warehouse were not being properly cared for “and engaged in conduct aimed at harming public health officials and the… intimidate or impede law enforcement.”
McClindon said he couldn’t comment on all the allegations because he hadn’t read the entire warrant. But he said during a brief interview, “I don’t think Bob Dean did anything that rose to the level of a criminal.”
In the days after Ida was struck on August 29, the state reported the deaths of seven people who had been evacuated to the warehouse in the town of Independence. Five were classified as storm-related deaths.
Dean later lost state licenses for his seven facilities. In May, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would ban Dean from receiving federal funds, including Medicare and Medicaid. At the time, McLindon told The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate that Dean was appealing the revocation of the state licenses and would be reinstated on the federal programs if the appeals were successful.
Ida was blown up as ashore last August one of the strongest storms to ever hit the United States, which cut power for all of New Orleans, blew off building roofs and reversed the flow of the Mississippi as it plunged off the coast into a major industrial corridor. Ida’s landing with winds of 150 mph (240 km/h) also marked the first time in recorded history that a state had consecutive years with winds of 150 mph or greater.
At the warehouse where Dean’s residents were taken, state officials said conditions quickly deteriorated due to the storm. Generators that used to provide electricity failed intermittently. Residents were in close quarters at a time when the state was urging social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some went for hours without eating.
Dean’s nursing homes were River Palms Nursing and Rehab and Maison Orleans Healthcare Center in New Orleans; Nursing and Rehabilitation in South Lafourche in Lafourche Township; Park Place Healthcare Nursing Home, West Jefferson Health Care Center and Harvey’s Maison DeVille Nursing Home, in Jefferson Parish; and Maison DeVille nursing home in the commune of Terrebonne.
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