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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357

Caregiver Sentenced for Neglect of Vulnerable Adults
While Paid to Provide Services, Arrested for Driving Under the Influence

BALTIMORE, MD (January 8, 2008) - Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that a former caregiver, Obioma James Ezeocha, 27, of the 2100 block of Townhill Road in Parkville was found guilty of neglect of a vulnerable adult for leaving alone and unattended two developmentally disabled men who were in his care. Judge Barbara R. Jung of the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore County sentenced Ezeocha to two years incarceration with all but thirty days suspended, and two years supervised probation. In addition, Judge Jung ordered that Ezeocha not work in the health care industry providing care to vulnerable adults for a period of two years.

Ezeocha was an awake-overnight residential counselor at a Woodlawn group home operated by the Center for Social Change, a private nonprofit that provides residential and community support services to individuals with developmental disabilities. Ezeocha was assigned to care for two developmentally disabled men from 11:00 p.m. on March 10 to 7:00 a.m. on March 11, 2007. Because of the severity of their disabilities, both residents of the group home require that a caregiver provide them care and supervision 24 hours a day, including while they are sleeping.

Ezeocha reported to work at 11:00 p.m. and then left the group home at 11:30 to return to his apartment where a party was being held for his roommate. While driving back to the group home at 5:00 that morning, he was involved in a traffic accident on the beltway and arrested for driving under the influence. The caregiver who came to relieve Ezeocha at 6:00 that morning, found the front and back doors locked. The caregiver had to awaken one of the residents to gain access to the apartment. Neither of the group home residents was injured.

This case was prosecuted by Attorney General Gansler’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, based on a referral from the Baltimore County Police Department. In making today’s announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked Assistant Attorney General Catherine Pascale for her work on the case.



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