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76 charges, including manslaughter and racketeering, brought against care home owner and staff

Ten people have been charged in a case brought by the Minnesota Attorney General.
Theresa Olson

Dozens of charges were filed on Tuesday alleging historic abuse against the residents of a northern Minnesota care home by its former owner, as well as managers and staff.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced 76 charges against 10 people involved at Chappy's Golden Shores, in Hill City, which closed this year after having its license revoked.

It follows an extensive investigation comprising more than one million documents by the Attorney General Office's Medicaid Fraud Unit that says residents were allegedly being beaten, subjected to sexual and verbal abuse, robbed, and denied care by staff at the assisted-living facility.

Of the 76 charges, 25 of them have been leveled against the home's former owner, Theresa Lee Olson, who has been accused of manslaughter for her alleged role in the death of a resident.

What's more, the AG has filed racketeering Olson and other staff at the home allegedly the Medicaid program out of more than $2.1 million, including for hiring staff who would not have passed criminal background checks, and billing Medicaid for services it should not have qualified for as it had no registered nurse on site.

The AG's office notes that once the Department of Health started investigating Chappy's, Olson and her husband withdrew more than $1.7 million from the Chappy's bank account.

The criminal complaint contains details of abuse inflicted on, but not limited to, five elder care residents.

Among the allegations of abuse was that against a 72-year-old Marine Corps veteran staying at Chappy's, who died in October 2018 of septic shock, an untreated UTI, and complications from dysphagia and pneumonia resulting from "improper care" and "failure to follow doctor's orders."

Another resident, Steven Nelson, who had cognitive disabilities including delusional thoughts, hypertension, and incontinence, died in November having suffered brain bleeding after abuse that including being repeatedly punched in the face.

The condition the home's 40 or so residents were kept in were also substandard, with one of the facilities having "holes in the closet leading to the exterior of the home, a broken window and door, visible water damage, and rodent nests and feces."

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Among those charged alongside Olson include several of her relatives: the father of her infant child, Benjiman Swanson, Olson's sister, Lisa Anderson, Olson's daughter Monika Olson, Olson's niece Janiece Mattson-Olson, along with Alexcis Hines, Christina Meagher, Kristin Davis, Susan Ellis, and Georgia Salomonson.

"Every Minnesotan deserves to live with dignity and respect. This does not exclude the sick and the vulnerable — it includes everyone. This means that every Minnesotan who needs care deserves care, not abuse," Attorney General Ellison said.

"My office is holding these defendants accountable for what we believe we can prove is systematic, intolerable abuse and neglect that in one case led to death, not to mention widespread fraud, theft, and other charges that hurt everyone."

"We are aggressively prosecuting this case. Whenever my office has jurisdiction, we will be aggressive in prosecuting criminal charges like it in order to protect all Minnesotans."

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