Attorney General Bonta Announces Sentencing of Two Caretakers for Elder Abuse and Operating Unlicensed Residential Care Facility
OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the sentencing of Ayette Loo and Marina Jacome for their roles in the neglect and death of an 83-year-old veteran at Regency Care, an unlicensed elder care facility in Seal Beach, California. Loo, the owner of Regency Care, was sentenced today by the Orange County Superior Court to four years in state prison and was remanded into custody. Loo had pled guilty to felony elder abuse prior to today’s hearing. Jacome, one of two individuals employed as caregivers by Loo, was sentenced in October to two years in state prison on one count of felony elder abuse. However, her sentence was suspended on the condition that she completes two years felony probation, 100 hours of community service, and no longer works as a caregiver. The third defendant, and second individual employed as a caregiver by Loo, Bonafacio Ruiz, did not appear in court and a bench warrant has been issued for her arrest. Ruiz, who currently remains at large, previously pled guilty to being an accessory after the fact and was scheduled to be sentenced on October 15, 2021.
“Not only did the defendants lie to their residents and their families about the legitimacy of their residential care facility – they also failed as caretakers to protect the health and well-being of their patients,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Today, we are holding Ayette Loo and Marina Jacome accountable for their gross neglect and disregard for human life. My office is committed to protecting our elders and veterans from abuse and neglect, and ensuring that families can trust that their loved ones are in good hands.”
Regency Care was a licensed Residential Care Facility for the Elderly until May 2017, when the California Department of Social Services’ Community Care Licensing Division revoked Loo’s license for misconduct. Nonetheless, Loo continued to represent Regency Care as a licensed facility and accepted new residents, including an elderly veteran who was discharged from the Veterans Administration Hospital in Long Beach to Regency Care. The investigation revealed that after moving to Loo’s facility, the victim developed a severe pressure ulcer, suffered bruises and lacerations all over his body, and developed acute bronchopneumonia. After the defendants failed to seek medical care for the victim, he ultimately passed away from his condition in January 2018. All three of the defendants were criminally charged for willfully neglecting the victim’s deteriorating health.
The criminal investigation into Loo was conducted by the Attorney General’s Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (DMFEA) in collaboration with the California Department of Social Services’ Community Care Licensing Division. DMFEA investigates and prosecutes those responsible for abuse, neglect, and fraud committed against elderly and dependent adults across the state. DMFEA also works to protect Californians by investigating and prosecuting those who perpetrate fraud on the Medi-Cal program. DMFEA regularly works with whistleblowers, the California Department of Health Care Services, and local law enforcement agencies in its investigations and prosecutions.
A copy of the complaint is available here.
DMFEA receives 75% of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $41,264,032 for federal fiscal year 2020-2021. The remaining 25%, totaling $13,754,675 for fiscal year 2020-2021, is funded by the State of California. The federal fiscal year is defined as October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021.