The Attorney General’s Office announced that Joshua M. Jones, 34, of Lynchburg, Virginia, and Britney Spaulding, 34, of Lynchburg, Virginia, both formerly of Morrisville, Vermont, were each sentenced yesterday in Vermont Superior Court, Lamoille Criminal Division, after pleading guilty to charges related to neglect of a vulnerable adult with death resulting.
The charges against Mr. Jones and Ms. Spaulding were brought by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud and Residential Abuse Unit (MFRAU) and stemmed from the couple’s employment as caregivers through the Vermont Medicaid Choices for Care waiver program, under which they were paid to provide services to two vulnerable adults including a 71-year-old woman with developmental delays and dementia.
Mr. Jones and Ms. Spaulding were charged by the Attorney General’s Office in 2021 after the 71-year-old woman who lived in the defendants’ home and was completely dependent on the defendants for dressing, bathing, toileting, mobility, and transfers, died. MFRAU’s investigation revealed that Mr. Jones was the primary caregiver and failed to provide the woman with the assistance she required. She was left immobile in her bed and soaked in urine, and, as a result, her skin broke down resulting in an infection that ultimately resulted in the woman’s death. While Ms. Spaulding was not the primary caregiver, she received Medicaid payments for care that was not provide during that time. Additionally, Mr. Jones and Ms. Spaulding filed fraudulent claims for services delivered to the woman and to a second vulnerable adult who also lived in their home.
Mr. Jones, who pleaded guilty on January 19, 2023, to one count of felony Neglect of a Vulnerable Adult with death resulting and one count of felony Medicaid Fraud, was sentenced to four to six years all suspended but three years to serve in jail and ten years of probation.
Ms. Spaulding, who pleaded guilty on January 9, 2023, to one count of misdemeanor Neglect of a Vulnerable Adult and two counts of misdemeanor False Pretenses, was sentenced to a suspended jail sentence, 10 years of probation and 250 hours of community service.
In addition, as part of their sentences, both Mr. Jones and Ms. Spaulding are prohibited from working with any vulnerable adults as defined by 33 V.S.A. § 6902 (14) and will be added to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of the Inspector General Exclusion list barring them from receiving funds from any Federal health care programs including Medicare, Medicaid, and all other plans and programs that provide health benefits funded directly or indirectly by the United States for a period of at least five years. They also must both attend and participate in Restorative Justice programming and attend counseling.
In response to yesterday’s sentencing, Attorney General Charity Clark issued the following statement: “Those who care for the most vulnerable Vermonters cannot be allowed to abdicate their responsibilities without consequences. Vermont prides itself on having a system of care that allows Vermonters to age at home whenever possible and puts trust in those who are charged with their care. It is of the utmost importance that the State ensures that vulnerable Vermonters receive the care they are promised.”
If you suspect someone is being or has been neglected or abused, contact local law enforcement immediately. Neglect and abuse may also be reported to Adult Protective Services by calling 800-564-1612 and MFRAU at https://ago.vermont.gov/medicaid-fraud-report-form/.
MFRAU receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $1,127,468 for Federal fiscal year FY 2023. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $375,823 for FY 2023, is funded by the State of Vermont.
CONTACT: Lauren Jandl, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171