Ocala women charged with operating illegal assisted-living home
Report states residents lived in 'deplorable conditions'
Two Ocala women were arrested Monday after deputies said they were operating illegal assisted-living facilities for elderly and disabled people.
Marion County sheriff's deputies arrested Mary Alexander, 46, and Tara Collins-Johnson, 30, and charged them with operating assisted living facilities without a license and neglect of an elderly or disabled person.
Deputies said most of the residents targeted for the illegal home were of low-income status. The elderly residents' Social Security checks were cashed, but only a fraction was given to them by Alexander and Collins-Johnson for spending money, according to the report.
Victims interviewed by deputies said as many of 12 people were living in a cockroach- and bed bug-infested, single-family dwelling -- some of whom lived in a garage, according to an MCSO release.
Food and medications were kept inaccessible to residents and house managers provided transportation to appointments without proper licenses, the report states.
Deputies said the homes were previously inspected health care officials, and Alexander and Collins-Johnson were given cease-and-desist orders, but the homes remained open.
Both suspects were also arrested in 2009 for operating an assisted living facility in Marion County and assisting with medications and other personal services, according to a police report.