PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Some patients at adult group homes run by Gateway Healthcare have received a letter telling them they likely had money syphoned from their Social Security accounts by a former employee, The Target 12 Investigators have learned.

Gail Leach Carvelli – a spokesperson for Lifespan which bought out Gateway Healthcare – said 40 group home patients received the notice.

The letter, obtained by Target 12, tells the patient Lifespan “became aware that beginning around 2012, one of its former employees may have taken a portion of your Social Security benefits for her own personal use.”

The letter is signed by Gateway Chief Financial Officer Scott DiChristofero and states the company offered the patient the amount their investigation determined was wrongfully taken from their account. The letter says by taking the money it will act as a settlement.

“Your acceptance of this reimbursement will represent full and final settlement related to the money that is owed to you by Gateway and Lifespan as a result of the events described above,” DiChristofero wrote. “I urge you to consider this offer of settlement, share this letter with a trusted family member, advisor or attorney and let us know if you have any questions about this matter.”

It gave patients a deadline of July 10 to agree to the settlement or not.

Gateway Healthcare operates 18 group homes. Their website states some of their residential services help adults “with severe and persistent mental illness.”

Carvelli declined to provide a copy of the actual letter but said 12 of the 40 people accepted the deal.

“We have set up or are in the process of setting up meetings with the remaining clients and hope to complete that process by the end of July,” Carvelli said in an email.

Target 12 previously reported Lifespan discovered a $170,000 “discrepancy” which launched the investigation.

Carvelli would not say how much has been paid out to date as part of the settlement.

The unnamed employee has been terminated, according to Carvelli adding “we believe this was an isolated incident and that no other employees were involved.”

She said they are cooperating with law enforcement. No one has been charged by federal or state authorities.

A request to interview someone from Lifespan or Gateway Healthcare was declined.

Lifespan recently announced they were closing six group homes. Carvelli has said the closings are unrelated to the theft investigation. Tim White( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter: @TimWhiteRIWPRI reporter Walt Buteau contributed to this report.