Stimulus Checks: FBI Raids Nursing Home Where Staff Allegedly Stole Payments

FBI agents raided a Pennsylvania nursing home where staffers allegedly seized residents' stimulus checks on Thursday. Agents also served a search warrant at another nursing home that was the site of one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the state. Both facilities came under scrutiny by state investigators and the state attorney general's office for deficiencies during the pandemic.

Back in July, CBS Pittsburgh reported that residents at Mt. Lebanon Rehabilitation and Wellness Center were having their stimulus checks seized by staffers. One patient's son, Justin Ciesielski, told the outlet he received a letter from the IRS confirming his father received a stimulus payment, but the money was not in his bank account. The nursing home told Ciesielski they used the stimulus funds to pay his balance and other expenses. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro told CBS Pittsburgh the facility cannot "effectively garnish that stimulus check from the resident."

On Thursday, FBI agents searched Mt. Lebanon, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that it is not clear why they were there. The state did report infection prevention issues after a July 17 inspection. The state's Aug. 31 data showed the facility had between one and four deaths linked to COVID-19 for the first time. However, the facility reported itself there was no positive case among 89 residents and among 56 employees on Aug. 31. The state reported its first six positive cases among its patients on Aug. 10, and the number of positive cases among residents doubled in the following report. The facility did not report data in the Aug. 24 report.

The Mt. Lebanon facility is owned by Comprehensive Healthcare, which also owns Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center. Brighton was also raided on Thursday after Shapiro named it among the nursing homes being investigated by his office for criminal neglect during the pandemic. The facility has seen the worst outbreak at any nursing home in Pennsylvania, with 332 residents testing positive for the coronavirus since March and 82 dying.

U.S. Attorney Scott Brady told CBS Pittsburgh agents from the IRS, Health and Human Services, and Shapiro's office were involved in the searches. "Today, Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General executed court-authorized Federal search warrants at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, located at 246 Friendship Circle, Beaver, PA 15009, and at Mount Lebanon Rehabilitation and Wellness Center," Brady's statement read.