Charging residents almost $1,000 a month, a Columbus man and woman are accused of exploiting disabled and elder adults at an unlicensed personal care home on Alton Street, a police detective testified in Recorder’s Court.
Martha Kate Decker, 65, and Dorcas Decker, 46, each face one count of misdemeanor theft by deception and four felony counts of exploitation and intimidation of disabled adults, elder persons and residents. Arrested on Thursday, both pleaded not guilty to the charges during a 9 a.m. court hearing.
In an agreement with public defender Robin King and defense attorney William Kendrick, Judge Julius Hunter set bonds totaling $20,000 each on the five charges and bound the charges over to Superior Court.
An investigation of a personal care home in the 4100 block of Alton Street started on May 15 after a theft was reported to police. Columbus Police Detective Christy Truitt of the Special Victims Unit said two victims lost $11,781 between December and early this year.
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A debit card was used to pay rent on two houses and for a car. The victims were paying almost $1,000 a month at the facility and declared the suspects payees on their Social Security benefits.
Truitt said the facility was ordered by the state to cease and desist operation on June 20, 2017, after failing to meet inspections but continued to operate.
Assistant district attorney Matt Brown said a condition on the bonds prevents the suspects from operating any kind of similar business while free on bond.