Two Vicksburg Women Sentenced After Pleading Guilty to Multiple Counts of Conspiracy and Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person

August 12, 2013

“These crimes were uncovered when individuals who knew the patients personally looked at the receipts and discovered that receipts were fraudulent,” said Attorney General Jim Hood.  “This is a good example of why it is so important to look at your loved ones accounts and report discrepancies.” Two Vicksburg women have been sentenced after pleading guilty to multiple counts of conspiracy and exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Lee Martin, age 38, of Vicksburg, pleaded guilty to 29 counts of exploitation of a vulnerable person and one count of conspiracy. Co-defendant Angela Palmer, age 44, of Vicksburg, pleaded guilty to one count conspiracy and four counts exploitation of a vulnerable person.

Warren County Circuit Court Judge Isadore Patrick recently sentenced Martin as follows: five years for counts one through 10, five years for counts 11-20, and five years for counts 21-30, all to run consecutively and to pay $3,000 in fines, $2,000 to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund, and court costs. Martin was ordered to go to the MDOC restitution center to begin serving her time. She is to stay  there until the more than  $101,000 restitution is paid to the victims, as well as court costs, fines and assessments are paid. If paid before the 15 years are served, she would serve two years house arrest, followed by five years post release supervision.

Palmer was sentenced to five years on each count, fourexploitation and one conspiracy, all to run concurrent and under the non-adjudication program. She was given five years probation. She must also pay a $1000 fine, court costs, $1000 to the victim compensation fund and $6700 restitution to the victim. She is to pay full restitution within the first year of probation and then begin paying $100 per month until the fines and other assessments are paid.

A presentencing hearing was held on April 23rd, at which time more than 50 family members of victims, nursing home staff, AGO investigators and auditors, as well as supportive community members attended and several addressed the court. Martin testified at the hearing, but showed no remorse for her crimes. When confronted by the prosecutor with pictures of many of the victims of her crimes, Martin remained cold and showed no emotion. The victims were confined to beds and/or wheelchairs. Several family members spoke at the hearing and voiced their concern to the judge that Martin had shown no remorse and should be held accountable.

The Attorney General’s investigation showed, and Martin admitted, while working as the business office coordinator for both Vicksburg Convalescent Center and Shady Lawn Health and Rehab, she took more than $101,000 from 83 vulnerable persons at both facilities. She wrote checks from the resident trust fund/petty cash account, cashing checks and converting the funds for her own use rather than the needs of the residents. The crimes were concealed by using her own receipts to back up expenditures for each check written. Martin was caught after an in house auditor discovered a receipt for a pair of designer jeans and realized the resident was a double amputee and did not wear long pants.

One of the victims was a relative of Palmers who was a patient at Vicksburg Convalescent Center. When Palmer discovered Martin was stealing from her relative, she admitted to joining the crime spree rather than reporting it.

This case was investigated by a team of investigators with Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit:  David Flowers, David Delgado, Wayne Lynch and auditor Teresa Matthews. The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorneys General Sue Perry and Pat McNamara.

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