• 68°

Natchez company must pay up

NATCHEZ — A Jackson social worker has pleaded guilty to exploiting residents at a nursing home owned and operated by a Natchez company.

Ponchie McCollough, 37, of Jackson was employed at Belhaven Senior Care in Jackson, which is owned by Trend Consultants LLC of Natchez.

McCollough on Wednesday pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit crime of exploitation of vulnerable persons and five counts of felony exploitation of vulnerable persons, according to a press release issued by the state attorney general’s office.

McCullough confessed to Judge Swan Yerger that she had swindled Belhaven residents out of several thousand dollars and used her job to have checks written to other co-defendants from the residents’ trust funds under the guise of spending down their money so that they would not lose their Medicaid benefits.

The proceeds from the checks were to be used on the needs of the residents, but were instead divided between the conspirators.

Trend Consultants, 323 Highland Blvd., was legally liable for the residents’ trust fund, and was required by the attorney general’s office to replace the $25,785 to the residents’ individual accounts. In addition, Trend Consultants is being required to pay the state a $77,355 penalty of for failing report possible exploitation of vulnerable adults within the facility.

Yerger sentenced McCollough to five years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections for the conspiracy charge and 10 years for each of the exploitation charges, fours years of which were to be suspended. Five years of supervised probation will follow.

The sentences will run concurrently, meaning McCollough will serve six years. She has been jailed since her arrest last November, and will receive credit for time served.

McCollough is required to pay $8,100 in restitution to Belhaven, as well as paying $1,000 to the Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund, which is to be paid during the five-year probation period.

McCollough has agreed to testify against five co-defendants in the case — Brad Burt, Jessica McKinney, Madeleine Floyd, Justin Johnson and Tina Brewer.

Johnson, a Natchez resident, is the director of operations for Trend Consultants. He declined comment Thursday.

Brewer, a Vidalia resident, is the billing specialist for the company.

Charles Bruce Kelly of Natchez owns Trend Consultants.

If McCollough does not testify, she will face additional penalties.

News

Katie’s Ladies model celebrates 102nd birthday

News

Dart: Natchez is second home to radio show producer, DJ

News

Trial delayed for Adams County murder suspect

News

One dead, 2 injured in two vehicle wreck in Vidalia

News

CPSB selects two finalists for next superintendent

Business

Atmos Energy replacing gas pipes for some Natchez residents

News

Schools to get $31 million for COVID-19

News

Man sentenced to 40 years Wednesday for killing step-daughter, injuring 3 other relatives

News

Officials working to bring commercial flights to Natchez-Adams Airport

News

Five candidates remaining for next CPSB Superintendent

Business

Furdge appointed to Natchez Convention Promotion Commission

COVID-19

Photo gallery: Clinic gives COVID-19 vaccines to inmates with mobile unit

News

Kiwanis Club giving new life to forgotten bike trail

Business

Grant money available to restaurants, bars from American Rescue Plan Act

BREAKING NEWS

Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Adams County, school dismissal delayed

News

NOAA weather station off air amid onset of thunderstorms in Adams County

News

Natchez should brace for more storms Tuesday

COVID-19

Supervisors vote again not to extend Adams County mask ordinance

News

Natchez, Adams County spared storms Sunday

Business

Monday is 65 years for popular barbershop

News

Waitress says customers are like family

Business

Four Cathedral graduates make the 2021 Mississippi Business Journal’s Top 50 Under 40 list

COVID-19

COVID-19 outbreak at prison leads to uptick in Adams County cases

News

Clothing bank for veterans reopens at VFW