ROME, GA. — A judge has sentenced a former Georgia nursing home operator to serve 20 years in prison and pay more than $7 million in restitution.
U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy sentenced 64-year-old George Houser of Sandy Springs on Monday for his conviction on conspiring to defraud Medicare and the Georgia Medicaid program by providing worthless services. He operated two nursing homes in Rome and one in Brunswick, but state inspectors closed them in 2007 because of the poor conditions.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillan Yates said Houser used the money he received to fund a luxurious lifestyle while residents went without food and medicine.
The judge ordered Houser to pay $6.7 million in restitution to Medicaid and Medicare and more than $872,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.
3 seek separate trials in robbery
VALDOSTA, GA. — Three siblings accused of robbing a Valdosta bank during a cross-country crime spree that started in Florida and ended with a shootout in Colorado are asking a federal judge in Georgia to hear their cases separately.
Lawyers for Ryan Dougherty, Lee Grace Dougherty and Dylan Stanley-Dougherty filed motions Monday asking the judge to hear their cases separately and to suppress statements they made to law enforcement while in custody.
All three have been indicted on bank robbery and firearm charges in Georgia.
They’ve pleaded guilty to Colorado charges stemming from their capture last August. Ryan Dougherty got 18 years, Lee Grace Dougherty received 24 years and Dylan Stanley-Dougherty got 32 years for those charges.
They also face charges in Florida for allegedly shooting at an officer during a high-speed chase.
5 inmates charged with prison killing
JACKSON, GA. — Five inmates at a Georgia state prison have been charged in the killing of a fellow inmate that arose from an armed robbery, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Monday.
The five men, armed with prison shanks, stole food that Laderick Cornellius Chappel had bought from the prison store, GBI Special Agent Tom Davis said. Chappel immediately confronted the men and, during a fight that followed, was thrown to his death from the second floor of the prison dormitory, Davis said.
Inmates are allowed to circulate freely in their dormitories until 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and state holidays, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan said. The killing happened just before 11 p.m. Thursday, so cells had not yet been locked down at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, about 50 miles south of Atlanta.
There was one guard present in the dormitory at the time of the killing, which is standard, Hogan said.
Chappel, who was 33 and from Albany, had been convicted of murder and was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Charged with murder in his death are: William Woodrow Wells, 21, of Louisville; Dante Ray Myles, 27, of Covington; Niko Lamar Swann, 23, of Atlanta; Demarcus D. Crew, 19, of Elberton; and Justin O’Neal Clinkscales, 27, of Hartwell.
School buses get cameras in Carroll
CARROLLTON, GA. — A west Georgia school system is the latest to add school bus cameras aimed at nabbing motorists who break traffic laws, officials said.
The Carroll County school system has installed high-resolution cameras to the front and rear driver’s side of its school buses, Tempe, Ariz.-based American Traffic Solutions said in a statement.
The company says the cameras can capture images of motorists who illegally drive by stopped school buses while students are getting on and off the bus. The cameras can also capture images of license plates.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office will work with the school system to review video of violations and license plate images for final approval prior to a citation being issued, ATS said. In Georgia, penalties range from a $300 fine for a first violation to a $1,000 fine for a third violation within a five-year period.
A company spokesman said its cameras are also used in Newton County, Muscogee County and Carrollton.