Woman arrested for running unlicensed foster care homes - WNEM TV 5

Woman arrested for running unlicensed foster care homes

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Mary Tahtinen Mary Tahtinen

It's where you'd send your loved ones needing full-time care, but now at least four adult foster care homes are shut down and investigators say the woman in charge of them is to blame.

Investigators tell TV5 the woman continued to operate unlicensed facilities after being busted by the Michigan Department of Human Services. Mary Tahtinen, 59, was arraigned Friday in Genesee County on multiple counts of operating an unlicensed adult foster care facility and failing to do background checks on employees working at the facilities.

Her arrest comes after investigation by the Genesee County Sheriff's Elder Abuse Taskforce and the state Department of Human Services. There were at least four facilities, which investigators say housed residents ranging in age from 36 to 85 years old. Twenty-one of them only had a single caregiver at each facility.

Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell talked about what they found at these facilities.

"Our elderly are vulnerable and people take advantage of them," said Pickell. "And even though these 21 people had guardians, they're not educated in terms of what to look for in a home, there's no training in school for it, and all of the guardians we talked to, none of them knew that Mary Tahtinen was operating unlicensed nursing homes."

Pickell warned that anyone placing their loved ones into an elder care facility should do their homework and be certain they are a licensed facility.

If convicted, Tahtinen faces up to two years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

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