Former Mental Health and Community Residence Facility Director Sentenced for Financial Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult and Elderly Person

Former Mental Health and Community Residence Facility Director Sentenced for Financial Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult and Elderly Person

            WASHINGTON –Latonja Dashawn Carrera, also known as Latonja Dashawn Martin, 48, of Camp Springs, Maryland, was sentenced today to twelve months incarceration, ten months suspended, and three years of probation for a felony charge of financial exploitation of a vulnerable or elderly adult in violation of D.C. Code §§ 22-933.01(a)(3) and 22-936.01(a)(1).

            The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Inspector General for the District of Columbia Daniel W. Lucas.

            According to facts admitted in her guilty plea, Carrera was the owner and administrator of M&M Residential Services, Inc., a Mental Health Community Residence Facility licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH).  Carrera admitted that within a 16-day period in January 2019, she made five separate transactions totaling $3,090.14 from the bank accounts of a 73-year-old vulnerable adult under her care, which she in turn used to pay for her own personal utility and credit card bills. 

            Carrera was arrested in December 2020, and pleaded guilty on December 6, 2022.  In addition to the prison term and probation, D.C. Superior Court Judge Michael O’Keefe, ordered Carrera to undergo a mental health evaluation and pay $1,565.78 in restitution to the victim, in addition to a $100 fine paid to the victims compensation fund  As a condition of probation, Carrera is also prohibited from serving in any fiduciary role for any individual other than her immediate family members.

            This prosecution is part of the Office’s wider efforts to combat crimes against seniors and vulnerable adults.  In 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia launched an initiative to address the abuse and exploitation of older adults.  The Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Initiative at the U.S. Attorney’s Office expanded its response to criminal and civil violations targeting older adults. The initiative has enabled the U.S. Attorney’s Office to develop and coordinate further its prosecution of these cases and enhance its overall support of older or vulnerable victims.  The team consists of experienced prosecutors and victim advocates from across the Office, to include the Superior Court, Criminal, and Civil Divisions, as well as the Victim Witness Assistance Unit.

            The U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Initiative partners with the D.C. Office of the Inspector General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), which is statutorily responsible for investigating and prosecuting District Medicaid provider fraud as well as abuse or neglect of residents in health care facilities and board and care facilities and of District Medicaid beneficiaries in noninstitutional or other settings.

            This prosecution is indicative of the continued collaboration between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the D.C. Office of the Inspector General to investigate and prosecute cases of this kind.  The government urges the public to provide tips and assistance to stop health care fraud. If you have information about individuals committing health care fraud, please call the D.C. Office of the Inspector General at 202-724-TIPS [202-724-8477].

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Graves and Inspector General Lucas commended the work of those who investigated and prosecuted the case from the Major Crimes Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Office of Inspector General’s MFCU.  They also acknowledged the efforts of Special Assistant United States Attorney Jason Facci, on detail from the Office of the Inspector General, who prosecuted the case, and MFCU Special Agent Jonathan Rich, who investigated the matter.  They also recognized the work of the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, which initiated this case, and the D.C. Adult Protective Services, which referred this matter for investigation.

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