December 29, 2009
Six persons connected to a Jackson, Miss., nursing home have been arrested and charged with exploiting vulnerable adults.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who announced the arrests, said the six were either employees of the Belhaven Senior Care facility or owned the company.

Those arrested are:

• Ponchie McCollough, age 36, of 308 William McKinley, Jackson, MS, a social worker with the facility, was indicted on one count of conspiracy and 19 counts of Felony Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult. McCollough remains in jail and bond has not been set, but arraignment is set for January 8, 2010.

• Brad Burt, age 35, of 688 Watts Lane, Brookhaven, MS, an administrator with the facility, was indicted on one count of felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult and 14 counts of accessory after the fact in felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult. He is currently out on $75,000 bond.

• Justin Johnson, age 30, of 23 Meadowbrooke Rd, Natchez, MS, Director of Operations for Trend Consultants (owner of Belhaven Senior Care), was indicted on 14 counts of accessory after the fact in felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult. He is currently out on $25,000 bond.

• Tina Brewer, age 43 of 2017 Eleanor4 St, Vidalia, LA, AR Billing Specialist for Trend Consultants, was indicted on 14 counts of accessory after the fact in felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult. She is currently out on $25,000 bond.

• Jessica McKinney, age 21, of 1921 Chandler Drive, Jackson, MS, a friend of McCollough, was indicted on one count of conspiracy and two counts felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Bond has been set at $5,000.

• Madeline Floyd, age 23 of 1256 Woodvillage Apartments, Jackson, MS, a friend of McCollough, was indicted on one count of conspiracy and one count of felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Floyd's bond was set at $5,000, but she remains in jail.

In each case, McCollough is alleged to have misappropriated resident's funds under the guise of spending down accumulated funds so that residents would not lose Medicaid benefits. The funds, however, were not used for the residents needs, but were allegedly retained by McCollough and other defendants.

Once the matter was discovered by officials of Trend Consultants, some of the defendants are accused of trying to cover up the alleged wrongdoing in an effort to avoid returning the funds to the residents.

"Within the indictments, there are 21 separate incidents of exploitation involving eight residents of Belhaven Senior Care," said Hood, "A total of $25, 785 was taken from the victims."

On December 3, 2009, owners of Trend Consultants agreed to return $25,785.00 to the eight residents and paid a penalty to the State in the amount of $77,355.00. The agreement absolved the corporation, but not the individual employees who are accused of committing crimes individually. Their court dates are pending.