Court Backs 4- to 44-Year Sentence for Home Care Fraudster

A Pennsylvania appeals court upheld a previous decision against a man convicted of committing more than $700,000 of home care services fraud on senior citizines in four states. After standing trial in 2012 on more than 1,000 charges, Ross Rabelow, owner of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania-based American Comfort Home Care Services, still faces a 4- to 44-year prison term imposed against him.

Prosecutors maintained that Rabelow owned and operated the home care company and sold contracts for services that few seniors actually received. All told, he allegedly scammed 245 seniors between 2008 and 2012, court documents contend.

Rabelow and his salesmen, Bruce Cherry, Thomas Muldoon and Robert Lerner, were found to have targeted seniors who suffered from dementia and senility and sold them contracts that were essentially “worthless,” Pennsylvania Judge Mary Jane Bowes wrote in the appeals decision. Additionally, the company set up automatic payments to make it difficult for clients and their families to cancel contracts.

Rabelow’s company also allegedly charged as little as $1.59 per hour for some services—not even close to market rate. Of the $774,060 that was collected by the company from clients, just 2.7% of that amount actually went toward financing home care services who had paid for them. Court documents also reveal that only one customer received all the services to which he was entitled under his contract.

“Cherry and Lerner cashed the checks and split the money between themselves, failing to forward any of the money to the insurance companies,” the appeals decision reads.

Rabelow was found guilty of criminal conspiracy, corrupt organizations, 244 counts of theft by deception, 244 counts of deceptive fraudulent business practices and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.

He appealed on eight claims that were rejected by the appeals court. His sentence of four to 44 years imprisonment and $650,000 in restitution was affirmed by the Pennsylvania court on March 14.

Written by Amy Baxter