A Medford nursing home convicted of a crime stemming from the 2012 death of a resident was fined $10,000 on Wednesday, ending yearslong legal battles the state attorney general waged against the company and nine of its employees.
The home, Medford Multicare Center for Living, had pleaded guilty in October to one count of first-degree attempted falsification of business records, a misdemeanor, when the corporation accepted responsibility for the criminal behavior of its former administrator, David Fielding, 59, of Lido Beach.
Fielding, eight employees, and the nursing home were convicted of various crimes stemming from the death of the resident, Aurelia Rios, 72, of Central Islip.
The nursing staff told Rios’ family she died of a heart attack on Oct. 26, 2012. But lawyers from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s office said Rios died after employees failed to connect her to a ventilator overnight and ignored alarms that indicated she had stopped breathing.
“A life was taken,” said Rios’ daughter, Michelle Giamarino, 54, of Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania. “I thank them for all they did. They fought for my mom. They held people accountable.”
Some of the nine defendants served jail time. Others are appealing their convictions.
Giamarino, who filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the nursing home and its owners, would like to settle it so she could put the tragedy behind her.
“I want closure,” she said.
On Tuesday, owners of the nursing home agreed to pay $28 million to settle a 2014 lawsuit brought by Schneiderman, accusing the six owners of corporate looting for diverting $60 million of the $280 million in Medicaid funds toward exorbitant salaries, management fees and charitable donations to their family-controlled private foundations since 2003.
As part of the settlement, the owners agreed to adopt a host of reforms to improve patient care, including hiring an outside operator and a financial monitor to oversee its 320-bed facility. The nursing home has named Lisa Wickens-Alteri, of Whiteman Health & Human Services, based in Albany, to manage Medford Multicare, according to the settlement. Wickens-Alteri’s appointment was approved by the attorney general’s office, which will have oversight over her work.
Robert Altchiler, a Manhattan attorney who represents the nursing home in the criminal matter, said the nursing home has hired additional staff and specialists to help manage the facility and spent money to improve patient care.
“A lot has changed at Medford since then,” Altchiler said Wednesday.
Altchiler also represents Wickens-Alteri in a separate matter. He said his pre-existing relationship with Wickens-Alteri has no bearing on her ability to serve as an independent operator because he did not represent the nursing home in its civil case.
A spokesman for Schneiderman did not address the question of Wickens-Alteri’s appointment or her pre-existing relationship.
“We will continue to vigorously monitor our agreement with Medford to ensure full compliance,’’ the spokesman, Doug Cohen, said. ‘‘The agreement provides our office the ability to oversee the work of both the independent financial monitor and independent operator, and we won’t tolerate any attempt to skirt the rules that have been clearly laid out.”