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Ga. settles suit, pledges to fix community-based mental health care

Ga. settles suit, pledges to fix community-based mental health care
October 19, 2010 --

Georgia today agreed to expand community care to keep thousands of people with mental illness out of its substandard, and sometimes deadly, psychiatric hospitals. The agreement settles a 3-year-old lawsuit brought by the Justice Department after my pals Andy Miller (left) and Alan Judd at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution rolled out a shocking series of stories about the state’s failures in mental health care.

Feds: Nursing homes used patient-care money to buy luxury cars, $1.3M home

April 16, 2010 --

Managers of three nursing homes in Rome and Brunswick conspired to rip off Medicaid and Medicare for $30 million intended for patient care, federal prosecutors said today. Continuing food shortages were so severe that employees used their own money to buy groceries so patients could  eat, investigators said. George and Rhonda Houser, the couple that ran the homes, allegedly diverted cash to buy Mercedes-Benz cars for themselves and a $1.3 home in Atlanta for Houser’s ex-wife. The homes were ordered closed in 2007.

2nd Polk County deputy pleads guilty, faces federal prison

November 6, 2009 --

A second former Polk County deputy faces prison for crimes involving the sheriff’s department. Kenneth Lane Gravett, 42, of Cedartown pleaded guilty today to mail fraud for filing a false theft report so he could collect an insurance claim on his Harley Davidson. Last month, Joshua David Lowe, 25, was sentenced to 21 months in prison for beating a jail inmate who had been strapped into a restraint chair. Read the news release on Gravett’s plea…

Ex-Polk County deputy gets 21 months in prison for beating inmate

October 15, 2009 --

A federal judge today sentenced a former Polk County deputy sheriff to nearly two years in prison for beating an inmate in a restraint chair. Ex-Sgt. Joshua David Lowe, 25, will serve 1 year and nine months in prison for the beating, described by a witness as unjustified and “horrible.” Read the news release …

       

Former U.S. attorney joins State Ethics Commission

Former U.S. attorney joins State Ethics Commission
October 2, 2009 --

Sonny Perdue on Thursday named former U.S. attorney Kent Alexander, now general counsel at Emory University, to one of five seats on the State Ethics Commission. Alexander’s appointment gives the commission a full membership as it prepares to name a new executive secretary to replace Rick Thompson, who steps down in a few weeks. The commission expects to interview finalists for the job at its Oct. 15 meeting.

Ex-Conyers official gets prison for embezzling $130K for waterslide, Xmas decor

Ex-Conyers official gets prison for embezzling $130K for waterslide, Xmas decor
September 30, 2009 --

Kristi Kirkus Wilson pleaded guilty in June to embezzling $130,000 that she spent on a waterslide, a barn, outdoor Christmas decorations and other home improvements. Today, a federal judge ordered Wilson, former executive director of the Conyers Housing Authority, to pay it all back and serve 18 months in prison.

Iraq water bribes net 17-year sentence for Fort McPherson official

September 14, 2009 --

A former Fort McPherson official was sentenced to federal prison today for taking bribes to steer $66 million in contracts to provide water to U.S. troops in Iraq. Richard E. Long, 63, of St. Augustine, Fla., was convicted in February of accepting $549,700 in bribes from Mack S. Smith to help Smith’s company win the Army’s business. Long got 17 1/2 years, while Smith, also convicted in February, got 12 1/2 years. I wasn’t there, but I can pass on the news release …