UNION — The former manager of the Department of Disabilities & Special Needs Home is already accused of stealing more than $44,000 from three mentally handicapped women entrusted to her care, but the amount of money involved is expected to increase as the investigation continues.
Rhonda Kay Keisler, 50, 274 Sweet Water Drive, Buffalo, is charged by the Union Public Safety Department with three counts of breach of trust $10,000 or more and three counts of exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
The incident report states that on Tuesday, Aug. 22 an official with the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs came to the Public Safety headquarters and reported that four residents of the DDSN home at 516 Hart Street, Union, may have had money taken from their accounts by someone. The report states the official said she would get all account information together on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
The warrants for Keisler’s arrest for breach of trust $10,000 or more each state that between Jan. 1, 2012 and Aug. 22, 2017 she committed the crime by using the bank accounts of the respective victims at Walmart and other establishments for her own personal use. Each warrant describes the respective victims as “being mentally handicapped and a resident of the Union County Disabilities & Special Needs Board Group Home” at 516 Hart Street where Keisler “worked as the House Manager.”
The warrants for Keisler’s arrest for exploitation of a vulnerable adult states that between Jan. 1, 2012 and Aug. 22 2017 she committed the crime by using the bank accounts of the victims for her own personal use. Each warrant describes the respective victims as “being mentally handicapped and a resident of the Union County Disabilities & Special Needs Board Group Home” at 516 Hart Street where Keisler “worked as the House Manager.”
Keisler was arrested Friday, Sept. 29 and was subsequently released on bond.
Dr. Beverly Buscemi, State Director for the Department of Disabilities & Special Needs, said Friday that when the incident was discovered, Keisler was immediately placed on administrative leave without pay. Dr. Buscemi said that when the local DSN Board was notified of the warrants, Keisler was immediately terminated from her position.
As for the money taken from the victims, Dr. Buscemi said the local DSN Board will develop a plan to replace those funds. She said the DDSN will then go back and make sure that was done.
Lt. Kevin Powers of the Union Public Safety Department said Friday that investigators have so far determined that Keisler stole slightly more than $44,000 from the three victims. However, Powers said that number is expected to increase as the investigation continues. As for whether or not there are more victims, Powers said that is a possibility, but that won’t be known until the investigation is complete. When asked if more charges would be filed, Powers said that too was a possibility, but, again, it would not be known until the investigation is completed.
Powers described the ongoing investigation as extensive and in-depth given the number of years Keisler was employed at the home and the number of residents at the home she was responsible for during that time. He could not provide any estimate on how long the investigation might take and when it would be completed.