For Bob Dean, 2021 is a money-making year.
After years of living a lavish lifestyle in some of the worst-rated nursing homes in Louisiana, Dean is now preparing to sell his remaining seven nursing homes for $70 million.
But the sale — like some of Dean’s patients — fell victim to Hurricane Ida.
After seeing his 843 residents suffer after being evacuated into a poorly equipped warehouse without enough toilets, showers or air conditioning, state health officials closed the warehouse and began moving sick people elsewhere.
Dean moves quickly to save his crumbling empire as much as possible, ordering the removal of millions of dollars from his nursing home bank account.
As his residents and their relatives talked about the loss and recounted the horrors of the warehouse, Dean went on to splurge nearly $2 million on guns, antiques, luxury cars, paydays for family members and more.
The allegations feature prominently in a lawsuit filed last week by the Justice Department alleging that Dean misused $4 million in funds earmarked for his four nursing homes and federally insured loans.
Dean simply pocketed the more than $1 million in “rent” his nursing home paid for storage in the years leading up to the storm, rather than using it to prepare for an influx of elderly and disabled residents, the lawsuit says .
Under the terms of the loan, Dean would use any assets and income from his nursing homes to improve those nursing homes, and he could not withdraw funds from some of those accounts without approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit seeks to double the $4 million the FBI says Dean wasted. While they have filed a civil lawsuit against him in the Central District of Louisiana, some say the charges could also turn into federal criminal charges.
Shaun Clarke, a former federal prosecutor in New Orleans, pointed to Dean allegedly pocketing the rent and allegedly emptying nursing home accounts after the state and his lenders stepped in to stop him.
If proven, “any of these allegations would support charges of wire fraud, health care fraud, making false statements to federal agencies and money laundering,” Clark said. Dean’s persistent message to his reluctant bookkeeper during the lawsuit could bolster the case, he said.
Dean already faces state criminal charges for vulnerable abuse and Medicaid fraud, to which he has pleaded not guilty. Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office is handling the case.
The FBI lawsuit comes after hundreds of others targeted Dean’s remaining estate and found next to nothing.
A Jefferson Parish judge recently signed off on a plan to distribute $12.5 million in insurance proceeds to Dean’s former nursing home residents, possibly about $10,000 each, though the distribution has not yet begun.
His lawyers argued in court documents that Dean suffers from dementia, is $40 million in debt and has no assets to draw on.
Attorney Don Macy, who represents many of Dean’s former nursing home residents, said the government will recover the money from Dean first. Banks and creditors will be close behind, with nursing home residents at the back of the line.
Macy said the competing accounts underscored how little money was available to Dean to evacuate victims.
It’s unclear which attorneys will represent Dean in the federal case: Attorneys representing Dean in the class action aren’t involved, he said.
Nursing Homes Flagged as Defective
Dean’s HUD deals date back to an agreement he signed in 2013 to purchase two residences called Maison DeVille, one in Harvey and one in Houma. HUD’s mortgage insurance requires him to keep the home in good condition and to have all necessary permits.
Dean signed two similar agreements in 2017 for Maison Orleans and West Jefferson Health Care Center.
But long before Dean evacuated his residents into the former pesticide factory-turned-evacuation warehouse in Tangipahoa Parish that he bought for $918,000 in 2015, conditions were poor.
Most of Dean’s homes earn one star under the five-star rating scale used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. West Jefferson Health Care Center is the only exception with two stars, still below average.
Dean’s residents were prescribed an unusually high rate of antipsychotic medications while living in houses with dangerously low staffing levels. Data collected by ProPublica shows that Dean’s nursing home typically receives 35 citations from inspectors — nearly three times the typical nursing home in Louisiana and double the national average.
Meanwhile, Dean developed a habit of filling his pockets with money that could have been used to improve his home, or could have helped prepare the warehouse, the complaint said. Between 2016 and 2021, he demanded that nursing homes pay most of the $1 million in “rent” for evacuation sites, according to the FBI.
Major improvements to the warehouse included the removal of metal shelves and the addition of several showers, the lawsuit said.
Dean loses license after disastrous evacuation
After Ada’s attack, Dean’s residents were forced to live in squalid conditions in the warehouse, which his staff on site tried to explain to him. Some residents used buckets as makeshift toilets; others shouted for help on deflated air mattresses.
On August 10, Dean was overseeing warehouse operations when he checked in with a key employee, Donise Boscareno. On the 30th of 2021, she replied, “Not very well. We can’t do this. People are dying. We need to get them to a place where they can receive medical care.”
The dean calmed her down and ordered her not to let any patient leave the building unless there was a life-or-death situation. He worries his residents will flee to other nursing homes.
“Dean is well aware that he puts the health of his business above the health of his residents,” Justice Department attorneys wrote in the complaint.
On September 2/2, the Louisiana Department of Health removed all of Dean’s residents from the warehouse over his objections.
LDH revoked Dean’s nursing home license in September. 7, which caused him a lot of problems. Possession of a valid license is one of the conditions of his agreement with HUD. Without one, his mortgage lender has control over the nursing home’s bank account.
Here’s what happened: Dean was notified the same day that his lender, Capital Funding Group, was taking control of the accounts. From that point on, the lender has the sole legal right to access them, the suit says.
“Dean was furious when he learned that the sale of his nursing home and his huge payday had come to nothing,” the DOJ complaint said. “Dean was yelling and instructing his bookkeeper every day. , his nursing home money needs to be diverted.”
Despite warnings, Dean orders ‘liquidation of accounts’
Dean discovers that not all of his account access has been cut off. His bank also gave him access to “shadow operating accounts” at his nursing home, according to the Justice Department, even though doing so violated his agreement with the federal government.
He urged bookkeepers to “clear all accounts”. On September 10, Dean’s bookkeeper transferred more than $365,000 from Maison DeVille in Houma and Maison DeVille in Harvey to Dean’s personal accounts.
Dean’s lender sent him another notice on September 12. 13 He defaults on his mortgage and can no longer access his accounts.
Over the next week, his bookkeeper transferred more than $180,000 from the nursing home account to Dean’s personal account. In total, Dean lost more than $877,000 from federally restricted nursing home accounts.
Dean ran out of money quickly. On Sept. 24, he fetched $1.75 million at an antique gun auction house. Then in October, he dropped $100,000 at a Ford dealership and distributed stipends and cash gifts to his wife and stepchildren, according to the FBI.
Meanwhile, Dean borrowed from the nursing home reserve in early September 2021 to pay the mortgage on the nursing home. HUD allowed him to tap the reserve fund on the condition that he repay it by the end of 2021. He never did.
“When stealing [nursing home funds] To purchase guns, antiques, and automobiles, and to pay personal loans and family allowances, Dean failed to pay bills associated with his nursing home in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida,” the DOJ complaint states.
At the time, Dean was slipping into dementia, and his lawyers later argued to keep him from having to testify. The later diagnosis prompted a judge in Georgia, where Dean lives, to decide last year to rein in his affairs with his wife.