11 ex-employees face charges after GR vets home probe


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Eleven former employees at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans are facing charges following an audit that uncovered problems at the state-run nursing home.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Monday that the charges were filed in the 61st District Court in Grand Rapids.

“Treat our veterans properly with care, dignity and respect. You do that you’re OK. If you don’t, they’ll be consequences,” Schutte said.

The AG’s investigation started in February 2016 after a scathing audit revealed numerous problems at the home related to care and timely refilling of prescriptions, among other issues including regular required room checks.

A news release sent out by Schuette’s office says that evidence shows staff did not perform the checks, but wrote in charts that they did. Schuette said were the checks done properly only about 30 percent of the time — he said his office has surveillance video as proof.

After a 13-month long investigation, the following 11 former caregivers have been charged with intentional inclusion in patient medical records or charts of misleading or inaccurate information:

  • Tyisha Toliver, 40, of Grand Rapids, is facing four counts;
  • Doris Penny, 59, of Grand Rapids, is facing three counts;
  • Eric Anderson, 59, of Holland, is facing one count;
  • Jasmine Ferrer, 27, of Wyoming, is facing one count;
  • Cary Gerencer, 52, of Sand Land, is facing one count;
  • Sheryl Hillyer, 62, of Lansing, is facing one count;
  • Lolitta Jackson, 39, of Grand Rapids, is facing one count;
  • Emina Kariman, 53, of Grand Rapids is facing two counts;
  • Michelle Longmire, 49, of Muskegon, is facing one count;
  • Roconda Singleton, 39, of Grand Rapids, is facing one count;
  • Sequoyah Thomas, 23, of Grand Rapids is facing one count.

The charges are four-year felonies.

“We support the filing of charges of the individuals named today,” veterans advocates Catherine Kooyers and Catherine Buckley said Monday in a joint statement. “However, we are extremely disappointed that after all this time none of those charged included some of the worst offenders: Michigan Attorney General Schuette’s own team members.”

Schuette said no one else was charged because there was no evidence of a crime committed.

Advocates who spoke to 24 Hour News 8 think the charges are a political play to help Schuette become governor. The attorney general claims there are no politics involved and said he’s simply doing his job.

“I think it’s a very strong message. We’re there. We’re a watchdog and we always leave the door open if other evidence comes our way,” said Schuette.