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An Almont woman has been charged with two felonies for allegedly scamming 136 elderly nursing home residents out of nearly half a million dollars.

On Thursday, Attorney General Bill Schuette announced the arrest of Tina Marie Binkley, 44. The woman has been charged with two 20-year felonies for her attempt to embezzle money from resident of the Boulevard Health Center, a Rochester Hills nursing home.

"Families deserve to know their loved ones in nursing homes are being cared for, not being exploited for personal financial gain," Schuette said in a statement. "Criminals attempting to victimize our Greatest Generation to line their own pockets will be brought to justice."

According to Schuette’s office, between 2010 and 2013, Binkley used her position as the business office manager to embezzle $460,266.82 from 136 different residents of the nursing home. Bank records show Binkley transferred residents’ overpayments for room and board from the general account into a resident trust fund account. She then later made cash withdrawals from that account for personal expenses, Schuette said.

On Wednesday, Schuette filed charges of two count of Embezzlement From a Vulnerable Adult ($100,000 or more), which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a $50,000 or three times the value of the money or property involved, whichever is greater.

The charges were filed in Rochester Hills’ 52-3 District Court. Binkley was arrested Thursday.

The nursing home fired Binkley in April 2013 after she allegedly failed to follow standard financial reporting procedures. The accountant who looked at the books following Binkley’s termination discovered several concerning problems with the finances and reported them to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The case went to Schuette’s office for further investigation.

Often times, residents at nursing homes pay out-of-pocket for services while waiting for Medicaid or other insurance to be approved. Typically that money is refunded. With the case at Boulevard Health Center, residents or their representatives were not advised of a switch to Medicaid or other insurance in a timely manner.

According to Schuette’s office, Binkley allegedly embezzled funds by directing subordinate employees to make cash withdrawals and turn over the cash to her. The investigation revealed that those employees making the withdrawals were unknowing accomplices.

Schuette will be sending a letter to all 136 victims at their last known address to let them know they have been victims of a crime and what is being done about it.

lrazzaq@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2127

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