CHICAGO (CBS) — An unlicensed residential mental health facility in south suburban Dixmoor was recently evacuated, after police discovered a bedbug infestation and filthy living conditions. Police say the focus of the investigation has now turned to nearly a half dozen people, who they’re looking into for potential fraud.
Officers recorded cell phone video inside The Mother’s House during their first visit on Friday. The video shows garbage strewn around; bedbugs crawling on walls, mattresses, and the floor; and other filthy conditions. During their later search, police also found fire exits that had been padlocked, and another section of the building in disarray.
About 35 people were removed from the facility, including Donelia Pittman’s mother-in-law. “She’s 61-years-old. She’s left now homeless. She has nowhere to go,” Pittman said.
“We have reached out to and made contact with the Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Unit, and it appears there was some kind of Medicaid fraud,” Dixmoor Police Chief Ron Burge said,
Burge said investigators are looking into how the mental health facility collected payments. He’s also looking into an associated business in Dolton, and hopes to talk to several people affiliated with the facility, including one elected official with alleged financial ties to the business.
“I had gone online through a social security administration and filed a fraudulent misuse claim,” said Angie Britch, a The Mother’s House resident. She says her son lived at The Mother’s House for about two months and paid with his social security disability funds.
“As this investigation goes on, we’ve determined that are more and more people involved,” Burge said.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said The Mothers House is not a licensed mental health care facility, and the state was not aware it was operating.
“I hope that they get caught,” Pittman said. “I hope they pay this money back to these people. And I hope they feel the consequences, which means I hope they spend quite a long time in jail.”
In addition to the police, at least two state agencies are looking into the business. No criminal charges have been filed at this time.
The Mother’s House has not responded to CBS 2’s repeated request for comment.