Crime

Three Upstate Caregivers Charged With Crimes Against Vulnerable Adult

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced that his office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (SCMFCU) has arrested Pebble Artrevious Hill, Wanda Gary, and Tuesday Nicole Watson.

Hill, 32 years old, of Laurens, SC, was charged with Abuse of a Vulnerable Adult {43-35-0085(B)}. Gary, 48 years old, of Laurens, SC,  and Watson, 35 years old, of Woodruff, SC, were both charged with the Failure to Report Abuse, Neglect of a Vulnerable Adult {43-35-0085(A)}.  All three subjects were booked into the Greenville County Detention Center on April 15, 2022.

An SCMFCU investigation revealed that on or about January 3, 2022, while working as a caregiver in a residential care facility, Hill inflicted abuse on an intellectually and physically disabled victim. Specifically, it is alleged that Hill intentionally sprayed the victim about her face and body with disinfectant spray in order to restrict the victim’s movements inside the facility. It is also alleged that Gary and Watson, who were both caregivers at the facility, witnessed the abuse and failed to comply with mandatory reporting requirements. The victim, a vulnerable adult under South Carolina law, resided at Thrive Upstate, a residential care facility located at 105 Old Fairfield Road in Fountain Inn during the time of the alleged misconduct.

This incident was referred to the MFCU via the Fountain Inn Police Department following a prompt internal review by Thrive Upstate.

This case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.

Abuse of a Vulnerable Adult is a felony and, upon conviction, has a penalty of imprisonment of not more than five years. Failure to Report Abuse, Neglect of a Vulnerable Adult is a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, has a penalty of imprisonment for not more than one year or a fine of not more than $2,500.

Under federal regulations, the SCMFCU has authority over Medicaid provider fraud; abuse and neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries in any setting; and the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of individuals residing in assisted living facilities or nursing homes.

Attorney General Wilson stressed all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

The SCMFCU receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $1,927,636 for Federal fiscal year 2022. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $642,544 for FY 2022, is funded by South Carolina.

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