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Federal Way caregiver still in business after bilking elderly woman
The operator of an adult family home in Federal Way has pleaded guilty to stealing from an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s disease.
In September 2010, Federal Way police began investigating the Green Gables adult family home, 31451 7th Place SW, after being contacted by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). The investigation led to charges that Green Gables operator Lissette Esteves stole a total of $11,700 from Jean Iversen, an 84-year-old resident who suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The investigation revealed that Iversen also made Esteves her sole estate beneficiary in August 2009, despite Iversen having no memory of signing her will.
Esteves was charged in March with two counts of first-degree theft but was not jailed. She pleaded guilty Aug. 9 to two counts of third-degree theft, according to a King County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman. As part of her plea agreement, Esteves is no longer allowed to run an adult family home, and has agreed to pay $11,700 in restitution, according to the spokesman. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 26 at the Regional Justice Center in Kent.
A woman who answered the door at Green Gables on Wednesday claimed to be Esteves’ mother, and told The Mirror that the home is still operating and serving four adults. Esteves declined to comment for this report.
Iversen had been a resident at the home from 2007 to August 2010, and died in December 2010. According to the Federal Way detective’s report, Esteves wrote out the monthly rent checks for Iversen to sign. Iverson said she could not write checks because her hands shook, and her actual signatures reflected this. In January 2009 and 2010, Esteves was paid twice for the same month’s rent with checks for $5,900 and $5,800, respectively, according to the report. The investigation noted that some signatures on Iversen’s checks to Esteves were neat and appeared to have been written by a different person, and that “most, if not all, of the other handwriting on the checks does not appear to be Iversen’s.”
A visiting nurse at the adult family home told the Federal Way detective that Iversen may have been neglected at Green Gables. In the detective’s report, the nurse described scenarios in which Iversen did not receive medication or timely cleanup, and had only one dirty sheet on her bed.
Iversen's daughter Linda Stroope said she's still looking for closure since moving her mother out of Green Gables last summer. That decision was prompted after Stroope discovered the change in her mother's will.
"With the way my mother's mind was, she was very vulnerable," said Stroope, a Des Moines resident. "The main thing that I want through all of this is that the home closes down and Lissette is never able to do this to anyone else again."
In April, the Washington State Residential Care Council released a statement in response to the charges against Esteves and Green Gables adult family home, which is not a member of the council.
“Her despicable conduct is not indicative of the ethical standards of the vast majority of adult family home owners,” said Cindi Laws, executive director of the WSRCC, in the statement. “What Esteves did is a violation of everything we stand for and believe in. Esteves deserves the fullest punishment for her crimes.”
A short profile on OurParents.com, a website dedicated to finding senior care resources nationwide, contains the following statement from the Green Gables adult family home in Federal Way: “We consider our self to be a Family and we treat everybody that comes in just like that. The care is outstanding we feel proud to say that the 1 on 1 that we give our residents is personalized to what they need or want.”