Deputies: Woman accused of running illegal care home was warned to stop

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News 12 NBC 26 at 6' O Clock / Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- This home on Mt. Auburn Street looks like any other on the block, but inside deputies say there was an illegal operation happening.

"The state has gone in multiple times prior to this. They have given her multiple notices," said Investigator Blaise Dresser.

Deputies say Brenda Lee Nations was running an illegal personal care home.

"We found multiple people living in the home, paying rent. Several indicated they were receiving medications from Ms.Nations," said Dresser.

In the incident report deputies say some admitted to paying Nations 6 hundred dollars.

Investigator Blaise Dresser says when unlicensed personal care homes pop up, so does the possibility of elder abuse.

"They may physically abuse them. They may financially exploit them," said Dresser.

Dresser says in many cases people in these homes do not have family to help pay for their help.

"Social security income or disability, that check ends up going right to the personal care home provider," said Dresser.

Dresser says at one point Ms. Nations was legit, but she surrendered her license two years ago.

"And then she kind of dropped off the radar," said Investigator Dresser.

But deputies say she popped back up running the same shop without a license, and at one point moving her personal care home to another location.

"They tracked her down and got complaints about her at this particular house," said Dresser.

Now she's facing a misdemeanor charge and all the patients have been placed in new homes. Dresser says there's a possibility she'll do the same thing when she gets out.

"There is a possibility that once Ms. Nations gets out they could end up back with Ms. Nations and we could end up investigating her down the road for the exact same thing with some of the exact same people living in her house," said Dresser.

Deputies say if that happens and she opens up shop again, she will be back in handcuffs with a felony charge instead of a misdemeanor.

Dresser says the sheriffs office is noticing a lot more cases like this pop up. Investigator Dresser says this can happen because several years back the state took away the requirement for certain health care providers to verify if personal care homes are licensed before they place people.
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Thursday, Sept. 21, 2016

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A woman has been arrested accused of operating an unlicensed personal care home.

Brenda Lee Nations, 57, was arrested after investigation by the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Georgia Department of Community Health, Richmond County Licensing and Inspections/Code enforcement, and the Augusta Fire Department Fire Prevention Bureau.

In an incident report, it states an investigator met with a witness who said Nations was running an unlicensed personal care home. The investigator along with other Richmond County agencies arrived to the home and knocked on the door, but no one responded.

After a short time, a man walked up to the home and stated that he lived in there and pays $600 to Nations each month, according to the incident report. The man told investigators that Nations cooks for him and also administers his medication that she keeps in a cabinet.

After approximately an hour, Nations showed up outside the home and gave permission for all agencies to enter the home for an inspection, according to the incident report. While inside the home, investigators interviewed a woman living inside who said she also pays Nations $600 a month, so Nations can cook and administer her medication.

The incident report goes on to say that the home was being used more than a home as there were red exit signs indicating the route to exit the home as well as a generic type of fire alarm used in most businesses. Medication was found for each individual in their rooms, but it was not locked. Each person had a separate clear plastic container for their individual medications.

Investigators believe that Nations had time to take each medication bin to each room and tell each person living inside to hide what was really happening, according to the incident report. There were two other people inside who refused to say if they were being taken care of by Nations, but they had the same type of medication bin and paid the same amount.

Nations was cited by the Georgia Department of Community Health for having two people at the home back in January of 2015, according to the incident report. An investigator received a complaint in March 2015, but when the investigator went to the home, nothing was found at the time.

The incident goes on to say that in April of 2016, Nations received another citation, this time by GDCH, for having five people living in that home. In September, the investigator returned for a follow-up, but the two residents who were outside refused to allow the investigator inside. The two people had come from a previous personal care home that was licensed and owned by Nations, but was closed and the license was surrendered in December 2014, according to the incident report.

Nations was arrested on a misdemeanor charge for operating an unlicensed personal care home. Nations has been monitored for the past year and has continually failed to become compliant with state law, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. A second conviction for this offense will result in a felony conviction.