Nursing home employee accused of stealing


By April Towrey, Assistant Editor from

The business office manager of Autumn Leaves, an East Dallas senior living community, is on unpaid leave after being accused of bilking residents out of more than $67,800. 

It doesn’t appear that the woman has been fired yet, pending the results of a police investigation and forensic audit, but she’s referred to as a “former employee” in correspondence from the Autumn Leaves senior living facility. The woman, who has not been arrested or charged with a crime, allegedly targeted residents with dementia and asked them to pay rent — after they’d already paid — to a third-party account. The address of the bank account she used was traced to her personal residence. 

An investigation was launched by a savvy group of citizen detectives who volunteer at Autumn Leaves and have loved ones who live there.
Photos courtesy of

An investigation was launched by a savvy group of citizen detectives who volunteer at Autumn Leaves and have loved ones who live there. Molly Terry and April McElhone led the charge and spoke to about their findings. 

Joshua Hoes, associate executive director at Autumn Leaves, which operates under Life Care Services LLC, told that the senior living facility takes “great pride in treating everyone in our community with a high degree of respect and dignity, which is why we are troubled by recent developments regarding unacceptable behavior by a former employee and their alleged misappropriation of company funds.”

Autumn Leaves said in a letter to residents: “Upon learning of this issue, we took immediate action by contacting the authorities and began a thorough, forensic review of the matter with help from outside experts,” Hoes said. “It is important to share that our community is ensuring that no resident account is impacted by the actions of our former employee. Beyond this, we do not have anything to share, as it is a personnel-related matter that remains under investigation. Any questions regarding the criminal investigation should be directed to the Dallas Police Department.”

Authorities with Health and Human Services and Adult Protective Services also have been notified, Terry and McElhone said.

Dallas Police Department Senior Public Information Officer Jesse Carr confirmed that the matter is under investigation. 

“On March 6, 2024, Dallas Police responded to a call for service in the 1000 block of Emerald Isle Drive,” Carr said in an email to “The preliminary investigation determined when officers arrived, they took a report of fraud. This case is being investigated by the Financial Crimes Unit. The investigation is ongoing and documented under case number 037131-2024.”

What Happened at Autumn Leaves?

Molly Terry told that she was contacted by a resident on a Saturday morning in late February. The man said an employee from the business office told him his rent had increased and he needed to write another check. He said he wouldn’t be able to do that, and the former employee reportedly told him to pack his bags and move out. 

Terry reached out to Autumn Leaves administration and was told the matter was none of her business. The resident, who has Parkinson’s disease, was then reportedly told by another employee that he owed $32,000 in back rent. 

Volunteers were told that Autumn Leaves has been operating in the red for two years, prompting the need for increased rents.

Hoes has been on the job for less than six months, Terry said, and is doing the best he can to clean up a mess created before he got there. 

Terry said the former Autumn Leaves employee told the resident with Parkinson’s that the “machine couldn’t read his handwriting,” so she filled out checks for him and got his signature. When Terry contacted the resident’s bank, she found that the checks were made out to Royalty Advocate Services LLC. The address assigned to that business is a residence in McKinney. 

When confronted with that information, Terry said the employee, who has worked at Autumn Leaves for more than a decade, left abruptly and said she would issue an apology to the residents. The evidence Terry and McElhone uncovered dates back about two years. 

“We’ve already found 10 more people that she did this to,” Terry said. “She checked to see if you had a power of attorney. The ones who have dementia, she would get them to write a check to Royalty Advocate. She had one woman write a check for $4,938. That isn’t even close to what your rent would be. Two days later, she went to her and said, ‘I still need to get that check from you.’ She did that to a lot of people, where they wrote rent checks twice within the same week.” 

One resident showed Terry her bank statement with an account balance of $0.

The resident had been accusing her daughter of stealing from her, Terry said. A closer inspection of the bank statement revealed the woman had been writing multiple rent checks each month to Royalty Advocate LLC. 

McElhone said the former employee was targeting the vulnerable. 

“Those of us that are volunteers there, our people are not going to be the ones who are scammed; it’s the ones who don’t have anybody,” she said. “All the people that got taken are people who don’t have friends and family that are looking out for them. Our people are fine, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t harass everyone. She knew she was taking their money and was messing with their minds, telling them they hadn’t paid, that they should pay in cash, that there was a problem with the bank. She caused all sorts of emotional trauma.”  

Autumn Leaves is at 1010 Emerald Isle and features spectacular views of White Rock Lake, a selling point for many of its tenants. The rent is about $2,300 for a one-bedroom unit, but rates vary based on the type of care provided and the size of the unit.

About 50 people live on the assisted living side, and 75 beds are available in a skilled nursing care building. Notices of rent increases were issued to residents during a bingo game recently and many of the tenants began crying, afraid they would not be able to stay in their homes, McElhone said. 

Some of the rent increases were proposed at $900 a month, she said. 

The need for rent increases was prompted by the theft, McElhone explained. 

“They’re asking for more money because [the former employee] is stealing from them,” McElhone said. 

“All these people had to suffer this immeasurable harm because she’s taking the money. The building is in disrepair. If she wasn’t taking the money, they would be able to fix the potholes in the street. They would be able to have working elevators. We have an elevator that’s been out for three months.” 

There are rats in the building and some of the thermostats don’t work. The sprinklers never came on last year, so much of the landscaping has died. Roofs leak when it rains. 

Terry agreed that the money that was swindled could have been used to fix the building. 

“They’ve been really negligent,” Terry said. “There’s tons of black mold in there.” 

The Autumn Leaves volunteers said they contacted because they want the senior citizens who live there to maintain dignity in the final years of their lives. 

They also want to raise awareness so the elderly aren’t scammed at other senior living facilities. 

“I do not care whether this woman does jail time. I think she deserves it, but I don’t care,” McElhone said. “I really care about these people. I want these people to be cared for and looked after. I want them to know that people care about them. They’re embarrassed. This person they thought was caring for them, stole from them. It’s really hard. I would like some good to come out of this because these people have suffered.” What happens next is unclear and depends on whether charges are filed. 

“We remain committed to serving seniors and fostering a culture of compassion, collaboration, and trust; and we stand firm in our no-tolerance policy for employee conduct that negatively affects our residents and our community,” Hoes said.