WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A nursing assistant convicted of stealing from at least a dozen memory loss patients in her care has had her licenses revoked by the state of Rhode Island, Target 12 has learned.
Court records obtained by Target 12 show police began investigating a larceny at the Spring Villa Memory Care Assisted Living Facility in West Warwick in December 2019.
Police said an administrator learned that funds from the personal allowances of 26 residents with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of severe memory loss “had been fraudulently accessed and used by the facility’s administrative assistant, Tracy Famulari.”
Records show Famulari was a registered nursing assistant and licensed medication aide.
According to an affidavit, an administrator spoke with Famulari after noticing discrepancies in the personal needs accounts of one of the victims, which she had initialed. The administrator told Famulari that if he found more discrepancies, he’d have to involve the police.
“I’m [expletive]. What do I do?” she replied.
An audit led to the discovery of “numerous discrepancies in the personal needs accounts of the additional twenty-five victims,” the affidavit says.
The administrator found that all of the fraudulent transactions had been initialed by Famulari. He told police she forged the initials of other employees, who later confirmed the withdrawals were not in their handwriting, nor did they give Famulari consent to initial them on their behalf.
Spring Villa confirmed that Famulari was immediately fired and hasn’t been employed there for years.
Online court records show the offenses took place in April 2017, though Famulari was not charged until January 2021. She initially faced 23 counts of exploitation of an elder and three counts of obtaining money under false pretenses (under $1,500).
Famulari, 43, pleaded no contest this past February to a dozen counts of felony exploitation of an elder over $500 and under $100,000. Eleven of the felony charges and all of the misdemeanor charges were dismissed, according to court records.
Famulari was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution totaling $19,444, with $8,000 paid up front.
As of Monday, court records say Famulari still owed a remaining balance of $9,444 and had not made a payment since May.
The R.I. Department of Health’s interim director adopted a recommendation to revoke Famulari’s licenses on Sept. 26. The decision was made public on the health department’s website.
“A nursing assistant is to assist patients who need help. Taking patients’ money is unethical and untrustworthy and incompetent,” the hearing officer wrote in the recommendation.
The health department’s decision shows Famulari represented herself in the administrative hearing and pleaded no contest “because of financial issues.” She claimed that “any of the funds withdrawn from the patients’ personal accounts were not for a malicious purpose.”
Famulari testified that she had the receipts for the withdrawals, “but was unable to access them,” adding that “the court documents make her look like a bad person, but really she did not have the money to prove her innocence.”
At the time, Famulari said she was employed as a nursing assistant, but couldn’t access any money and wasn’t working “due to an accident which requires surgery.”
The hearing officer noted that in the hearing, Famulari indicated that she had letters of recommendation, but never submitted any.
“Her actions were not just a mistake or oversight,” the officer wrote. “Instead, she stole from many vulnerable patients and committed numerous statutory and regulatory violations.”
“Not only was she convicted of felonies, but her actions were unprofessional, detrimental to the welfare of 12 patients, and demonstrated that she is unfit and incompetent as a nursing assistant and medication aide,” the officer continued.
Famulari is on probation until 2028.