Adult Care Center Owner In Williston Charged With Abuse & Exploitation
WILLISTON - An apparent case of elderly abuse at a facility in North Central Florida has some wondering-- who's watching the caregivers? A routine checkup by the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Unit led to the discovery of elderly abuse in Levy County.
The owner of this Adult Care Center in Williston surrendered her license last month once the Attorney General's Office started asking questions. She is now being charged with neglect of a disabled adult, false imprisonment, aggravated abuse, and exploitation. She was arrested Thursday and her bond is now set at $205,000.
Restraining a disabled adult with handcuffs and causing permanent disfigurement are some of the things police claim happened in this house. This is Priscilla Smith Johnson’s home but also the place she runs the Johnson's Adult Family Care Home.
Mary Ulmer a neighbor of the Adult Care Center said, "We really didn't know what was going on, we were just very suspicious curious because they did have police cars at different times over there."
Johnson is currently behind bars for allegations that include neglecting to provide beds for residents of the home and failing to provide medical services for a resident's wounds caused by the handcuffs.
"Most of the resident I talked to didn't even know their neighbor was running an Adult Care Center; much less what was actually happening behind these 4 walls.
"I had no idea... No idea on that. All I know is that it was a group home and I understand there are people who can't live by themselves so I thought it was pretty admirable of them to do something like that,” Ulmer said.
Johnson is also being accused of failing to pay two disabled adult residents their required monthly personal needs allowance given to them Medicaid.
All the alleged abuse was uncovered by the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Levy County Sheriff's Office.
"We take it very seriously, it's one of the jobs of our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to conduct these spot checks and work very closely with our partners like the Levy County Sheriff's Office to start this sort of abuse," Whitney Ray with Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office said.
Johnson was licensed as an adult family care home provider for four years. If convicted, Johnson could face 60 years in prison and $40,000 in fines. The case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney's Office for the eighth judicial circuit.
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