The owner of seven nursing homes in Louisiana has been arrested on state fraud and cruelty charges after evacuating over 800 elderly residents to a squalid warehouse prior to Hurricane Ida last year, where seven residents eventually died.
Bob Glynn Dean Jr., 68, of Thomaston, Georgia, has been charged in Louisiana’s Tangipahoa Parish with “eight felony counts of Cruelty to Persons with Infirmities, five felony counts of Medicaid Fraud, and two felony counts of Obstruction of Justice,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement on Wednesday.
Dean was out of state when he allegedly ordered employees to shift the residents in Baton Rouge to the warehouse located in Independence, roughly 70 miles northwest of New Orleans, on Aug. 26, 2021. The transfer was done in preparation for adverse weather conditions in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
However, investigators found the facility lacked proper restrooms with elderly residents overcrowded in the concrete-walled warehouse. The residents could not access necessary medicines and were not given adequate food while they slept on wet floors surrounded by filth with the smell of human excrement, they added. Five of the seven deaths were considered storm-related.
When authorities discovered the warehouse, they said they found the ill and elderly on dirty mattresses, crying for help amid their own waste. Civil suits filed against Dean claimed that the toilets overflowed, the ceiling leaked, and there was inadequate food and water.
“We only had five deaths within the six days, and normally with 850 people, you’ll have a couple a day,” Dean said in an interview with WAFB in Baton Rouge. “So we did really good with taking care of people.”
When made aware of the situation, the Louisiana Department of Health revoked Dean’s licenses to operate all seven of his nursing homes. In May, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it was banning Dean from receiving federal funding, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Dean had allegedly refused to cooperate and ordered employees to not cooperate with authorities, according to an arrest warrant.
According to Landry’s office, Dean was arrested after the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) and the Louisiana Bureau of Investigations (LBI) reported he had failed to move his residents out of the warehouse when ordered, while billing Medicaid despite not providing proper care. The attorney general also said that Dean had engaged in conduct intended to intimidate or obstruct public health officials and law enforcement in investigating the deaths.
The investigation is still ongoing.
According to Dean’s attorney, John McClindon, Dean plans to plead not guilty to all charges, factoring in mental health.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that Bob’s mental health is going to be an issue in this case,” McClindon told CNN. “Bob clearly has some cognitive impairments and did on the day of this incident.”
Dean made a court appearance in Louisiana on Wednesday and has been released on a $350,000 bond. He is appealing his license revocations and wants to be reinstated for federal programs if his appeals are successful.
Dean’s nursing homes were South Lafourche Nursing and Rehab in Lafourche Parish; River Palms Nursing and Rehab, and Maison Orleans Healthcare Center in New Orleans; West Jefferson Health Care Center and Maison DeVille Nursing home of Harvey in Jefferson Parish; and Park Place Healthcare Nursing Home and Maison DeVille Nursing Home in Terrebonne Parish.