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Women Sentenced for Mistreatment, Fraud at Eatonville Boarding Home

Puyallup resident Jodi Becker pled guilty to allowing the mistreatment of residents at the elderly boarding home she owned in Eatonville, plus fraudulent hiring practices.

Today, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) announced the resolution of cases against two women accused of criminal negligence and fraud at Eatonville Manor, an elderly boarding home.

A man died following hospitalization and treatment for bed sores sustained at Eatonville Manor. His death was not directly related to the care he received, but former Manor owner Jodi Becker and Nurse Practitioner Joanne Hardtke have both pled guilty for criminal negligence that lead to his death.

In 2011, as a result of the criminal mistreatment, plus falsification of training records and other incidents, the Department of Social and Health Services shut down Eatonville Manor facility and revoked Becker’s boarding home license.  

Becker, a Puyallup resident, pled guilty today to third degree criminal mistreatment for her role in the resident's harm. Becker is precluded for 10 years from providing paid care to vulnerable clients in long-term settings.  

In addition, Becker pled guilty to six counts of first degree theft and one count of Medicaid False Statement, for falsifying information given to state regulators regarding her hiring practices. As a first-time offender, Becker will serve 75 days in jail, six months of community supervision, 12 months of probation and will pay $146,078 in restitution.  

State prosecutors say those practices led to the hiring of untrained and unqualified staff. 

Hardtke, of Tacoma, pled guilty in Pierce County Superior Court to a count of third degree criminal mistreatment for harming the resident.

MFCU prosecutors accused Hardtke of criminal negligence for failing to properly monitor his medical needs. She will pay a $3,000 fine.

Under both the court order and additional action taken by the Washington Nursing Commission, Hardtke is barred for five years from caring for vulnerable people receiving government-funded long-term care. The court also imposed significant limitations on her ability to practice nursing after that.    

“Justice was done, and health care providers, owners and operators of long-term care facilities should take notice that the State will not tolerate criminally negligent treatment of frail residents who depend on their care givers nor will we tolerate fraudulent behavior," said Senior Counsel Carrie Bashaw. "We will doggedly pursue and prosecute anyone committing these criminal acts."

Information provided by the Office of Rob McKenna, Attorney General for Washington

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