Former Nursing Home Operator Facing Third Jail Stint As New Charges Surface

A former nursing home operator could land back in jail after new allegations that she defrauded an elderly man out of $300,000 in a “bed license” scheme.

Martha Bell, who previously ran the Ronald Reagan Atrium I Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, has already served 6 years over two prison sentences for health care fraud and involuntary manslaughter — the latter charge stemming from the death of a resident in Bell’s nursing facility who was locked outside during a winter night.

She’s been out of prison since mid-2013, but apparently it didn’t take long to go back to her old ways.

The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette outlines her scheme, which involved imaginary “bed licenses”:

After Bell’s release from prison in April 2013, she contacted the elderly man, telling him that she needed money.

The complaint lays out a complicated scenario wherein Bell showed the alleged victim documents in which she claimed she had 120 “bed licenses” she was going to sell for $25,000 each.

“The victim reported that [Bell] asked him to borrow the money to get the bed licenses out of escrow,” Detective Jackelyn Weibel wrote. “In exchange, the victim would receive half of the expected $3 million sale of the ‘bed licenses.’”

The man showed detectives a promissory note dated May 6, 2014, for $20,000. Bell also provided jewelry to him as collateral, but he later had it appraised and was told it was worth only a fraction of what Bell told him, the complaint said.

“Every time the victim asked for his money to be repaid, the actor had a different excuse as to why she couldn’t pay him back.”

Of course, the money didn’t go toward the licenses. Instead, Bell spent over $100,000 at various casinos, furniture stores and restaurants; the money also went toward paying back-taxes.

A bit more info on Bell’s colored past, from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Bell spent more than two years in state prison for the October 2001 death of an 88-year-old woman who wandered outside the now-shuttered Ronald Reagan Atrium I Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Robinson Township. That woman, Mabel Taylor, died after she was locked outside for hours on a 40-degree night.

The death investigation led regulators to scrutinize the home and its parent company, the Alzheimer’s Disease Alliance of Western Pennsylvania, and led to federal Medicare and Medicaid fraud charges, which cost Bell an additional five more years in federal prison for collecting insurance money for services not rendered.

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