- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - An investigation of state employees stealing from developmentally disabled people in their care found “systemic theft and mismanagement” of cash accounts of group home residents, New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott said Thursday.

“With disturbing regularity we have seen the shameless preying on a vulnerable population by those charged with their care,” Leahy Scott said in releasing a report that detailed 10 state caregiver theft cases that have been prosecuted.

The cases included a staff member’s Walmart shopping spree using residents’ gift cards, an employee who used money from six residents to take her own family to a show, and a house manager who used residents’ funds to buy himself musical equipment, a recliner and expensive sneakers. In each case, the employee was prosecuted and terminated from state service.

Based on the 10 cases described in the report, the inspector general found the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities was deficient in its oversight, training and policies on residents’ cash accounts.

In response to the report, the state agency agreed to implement reforms including periodic audits of residents’ cash accounts, more accurate logs of transactions and updated training for caretakers and supervisors at group homes.

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