Chief U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced Lindsey Allison Kerns, 39, of Mars Hill, N.C., to 45 months in prison, for stealing more than $1 million from two elderly clients in her care. In addition to the prison term , Kerns was ordered to serve three years court supervision and to pay $1,088,554.99 as restitution.
Kerns was hired to provide daily care to two elderly people. She overcharged them by a million dollars and bought trucks, ATVs, expensive clothing and went on lavish vacations.
Kerns owned and operated Home Care Coordinators, LLC, a business that provided home health care. Beginning in December 2018, Kerns arranged to provide home health care services to two elderly clients, identified in court documents as S.A. and P.R., who were 86 and 90 years old, respectively. The two elderly clients were close friends. P.R. suffered from dementia and was not capable of handling his affairs. S.A. served as P.R.’s power of attorney and managed and controlled P.R.’s finances.
Kerns provided home health care services to S.A. and P.R. all of 2019 and into 2020. During that time, Kerns did not provide S.A. or P.R. with detailed invoices of her home health care services. Instead, Kerns orally informed S.A. on a weekly basis how much money Kerns claimed she was owed for services rendered, and S.A. wrote checks in those amounts from P.R.’s bank accounts. Over the course of the scheme, Kerns defrauded the elderly victims in a number of ways, including by overbilling them for services that were inflated or never provided; double-billing them for other services such as cleaning and moving that were either not provided or were provided by caregivers during hours already billed; and by billing at a higher rate than what Kerns and the victims had agreed upon.
From December 2018 through April 2020, Kerns directed S.A. to pay, and did receive, $1,465,546.99 for home health care and other services allegedly rendered by Kerns to the victims. The actual fair market value of the services provided to the victims by Kerns was $376,992. Kerns thereby overcharged S.A. and P.R. $1,088,554.99 for services that were never provided.
Kerns used the money she swindled from the victims to purchase vehicles, ATVs, luxury retail items, hotel stays, and vacation rentals.
When Kerns learned she was being investigated by the FBI and IRS, she made a number of false statements to federal agents related to her business activities. For example, Kerns lied about issuing IRS Form 1099s to her employees, lied about purchases she made using the victims’ money, and lied about additional income she received from another client. In addition, after Kerns was served with a grand jury subpoena requiring her to produce certain business records, Kerns fabricated such records and generated false invoices based on the amounts she believed she had received from S.A. and P.R. rather than providing invoices for actual services rendered. Kerns pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.
Contact NY Elder Law Attorneys Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC at (585) 484-7432 if you or a family member are a victim of abuse. Also, if you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, contact the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).