Residential care homes seem like the perfect place for Mom or Grandpa to live out their golden years, but their home-like facades are hiding rampant wage theft and exploitation of caregivers. Reveal’s Jen Gollan takes us into her investigation of the care-home industry.
Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey. It is your favorite host in all of pod custom. Now for the rest of the year, I'm gonna be asking you to join us by becoming a member of reveal reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter for more than three years now reveal has been fighting a lawsuit. That's been jeopardizing our very existence of restore we,
about an organization called planet aid. Our story raises serious questions about whether international aid was actually reaching the people. It was intended to help and what's more, our story was truthful and we stand by it. We believe it's our duty to fight attacks like this, but fighting a lawsuit comes at a huge costs, are legal fees alone totalled more than seven million dollars? Luckily we have pro bono legal support to help our in house counsel, but it still takes significant resources, resources that should be used to do more public service journalists. This kind of investigative,
it, takes time and it cost money. If you believe in the work, we do, the absolute best way to support us is by becoming a member of reveal to do it just text. The word reveal two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven standard data rates apply and you can text stop or cancel at any time,
Also, all new members who donate at least five dollars a month. We get our facts, t shirt again just text. The word reveal two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven.
And all you who already support our work. I want offer a deep, sincere thanks. We can't do this work without being willing afforded twenty twenty. We have big things plan. So, let's go to some good work together.
From the centre for investigative reporting,
ye are eggs. This is reveal I'm outlets
recently. Sonya desert took a trip to the bank she's driving through the streets of any caliphs
sprawling commuter city about an hour northeast of San Francisco turn right ranch. Try chain, restaurants like Chile's impair the express feel peach invade strip
So in his head into one now we go there in Bank of America in Brentwood, the site of the bank brings back some bad memories. I bid said at the time: Sonya is sixty six years old. Originally from the Philippines. Just series face there
instantly softens when she smiles the thin I've. Last time she was at this bank Sonia was with a boss and, as she gets out of the car now she scans a parking lot worrying that he might be around so she put on a sunglasses is kind of a disguise. I can never. She says her boss brought to this bank to cast
check the Czech you'd riddler for back pay. He odor go in line
I have signed the check at the back, my name
son. Yet this does not take as get the money.
Send a hundred and sixty six in my hand, eight thousand eight hundred and sixty six doubts about that and I hope the money I kiss gave legs with this
said to myself, but MRS my money, we spend a lot of money. A big money zone uses her boss, made her cast their check and another
and him more than seventeen thousand dollars, and then she says he may
her hand the money over to him all. But a thousand dollars, I should those demanding she did say nothing. That's my money, I said:
Sonia as no savings retirement account, though safety net and the story of why she cast their check and gave the money back to her. Boss is a story of worker exploitation in a fast growing industry reveals Jennifer Garland has been investigating this over the past year
and then it was soon use job to take care of older people living in what called a residential care home. Can you explain why that is
so. We all know that baby boomers are getting older and while some people can continue to live on their own with their families, there is also a growing power.
The population that needs a place to stay. That's where these residential care facilities come in there about
twenty nine thousand across the? U S and many
were one single family homes that these owners have converted into assisted living for seniors, the ones we are talking about today. They typically have six to ten residence, so wise, the care home industry growing, so
fast right now. Well, there's a bunch of reasons when you
gonna a nice home, verses and institution. You course I mean
A beauty of them is their tucked into these small neighbourhoods and they provide a homelike setting for seniors. They get to know the caregiver
Really well, because these caregivers are often on duty around the clock, and these are often
cheaper alternatives, ten nursing homes, but there is a dark side. You re like what happened Sonia exactly
regulation is really lacks. So these places just don't face much oversight and that's led to ramp and exploitation. So how'd you find Sonia
Well, I stumbled on Sonya case cause. I was actually taking a look at her boss, Romero Public CO
Ramallah and his wife, they own a chain of for care homes and each one has caregivers just like Sonia and they have all
God stories. So how did you
he and about the bank cashing a cheque for her boss. Well, that's what I wanted to find out
so. I went to visit her Sonya
You know I've been talking to Sonya for months on the phone.
Before I finally meet up with her in person at her sisters house, where you think this is the
the story where you normally here, a dog barking at the reporter as they walk in, but the dogs in this house there are frozen there. Actually, porcelain figures
the result is an old one. At that time I was wanting to pet. This Sonya came to the: U S and two thousand after her husband passed away. She was here to look after her dad who was already here, and she really needed a job, send them money to the Philippines, to support them to support my family in twenty two
of she ran interim L sister, as he said. Oh you want do apply. Terminology is this. I have no job so
NL higher to her to be a live in caregiver one of his homes. She be one of two workers taking care of up to six residence. My salary is only
dollars in twenty four hours that breaks down to two bucks an hour. To put that impression.
Active. The federal minimum wage is seven. Twenty five, an hour so by paying is employs what amount
the two less a minimum wage remmel was breaking the law. On top of that, Sonya says if she wanted to get that
one day off a week. You need to bind
really bare and to be the one to deduct your salary. Basically she'd have to find someone to fill in for her and then she'd have to pay that person out of her own pocket, because I need a job because I don't have a job. I accept it. I am not complaining because that I need to support by merely in the Philippines two daughters and too
got kids. I met another woman who worked for remember all her name.
Is normal limb. My girlfriend referred me to the royal mail publicly that sir, I met him Norma
goes by nor meta. She met rationale and his wife Glenda in two thousand nine nor meter
says: were mail, is a real charmer will ease the street
man. Believe me, new life is nice Glinda bear very sweet. He knows how
He knows how to Greece on you, don't screw then yeah you
get angry with him because he knows how to make. You feel good note,
blame the only problem. Is he tried to cheat us.
Before nor me met Rommel. She was a professional poker dealer, but then she had a stroke and was left partially paralyzed. She was
sure what to do. She was in her sixties and she just didn't have a lot of options. Then she matrimonial and she felt like her luck- had changed. I offer
for the same deal? Sonya had fifty dollars a day
I'm kind of disable and an already patients lemon
cooking, and now I have no problem.
The beginning I was,
glad that I had a job your effectively earnings.
Dollars an hour. I mean that they will think of hope
thus it really live
meta love the residents. They had fun together. They eat meals as a group and watch soap.
Pressed together in the living room. The house had lots of space twenty five hundred square feet, but with up to six residence at a time the work was relentless. It was like being a housekeeper cook. Nurse made all rolled up, and
one, and if you listen to Sonia, I woke up at five o clock in the morning and nor meter and prepare for the breakfast as they take us through their typical work day, feed these six patience,
their experiences sound nearly identical,
on seven o clock. They have to cling to the bathroom and then, after a clean up the kitchen
then the rules on two three, four five,
the rooms there. You have the button the floor give them there.
A you know, cleaning
and get ready for lunch and in feed them
after that, bring the basin to die
the bathroom indicates in and prepare for dinner the same routine, I'm not really off, because I stay in your comments:
sleep all night and gonna be calling you know how bad you need to be patient to the patient will no longer, sometimes your patient disgrace. Sometimes they are fighting. We do these, making
most in their bad? We changed diapers ebbed, though I were changed in chains.
The med seize him up, and you me stay here, so we need to help our position. This is our job.
And if one of the residents died nor Meta says were a mail would cut her pay by a hundred dollars that money for you ever allowed to leave the facility we can.
I have to ask permission:
didn't nobody will take over, so she didn't even get Christmas off. Instead, there be a big party right there, ethics,
her home Christmas in those giving holidays real war?
you know now, there's no day off, so there you have it
great connection with so many of your patience, yet you're exhausted. Well. For me, I will not being job is job for me, I just take one day
The owner gave she was willing to put up with it and never reported Rommel, because she didn't want to lose her job
Other employees stayed quiet because they are worried about their legal status. In the. U S, Romania's from the Philippines like
let me turn Sonia. He found them and other workers by tapping into a network of filipino immigrants in the San Francisco Bay area. This is probably the best place
the com, if you wanna, get a job as a caregiver. This is Valerie Francisco man job as she's writing
Look about the caregiving industry. She lives just south of San Francisco in daily city. This is
the Little Manila economic Capital, the centre for Filipino American Ino images.
Coming in. Valerie was born in
Philippines. She moved here when she was nine and was actually partially
raised in a care home, it's where her grandparents worked.
A sister, my brother and my mother, and I shared one room next to a kitchen. We as children, help them take care of the elderly. Folks in that care home.
We will get up from six a m and house
agile of domestic tasks, all the way to ten p m she's. Now sociology, professor at San Francisco state unit,
Kirsty specializing in labour and the Filipino diaspora, and she talks about a specific cultural dynamic in the Filipino.
Employer employee relationship they can too easily.
Slide into exploitation. The literal translation is a day.
Of ones in herself. This idea of outta
love is a cultural idea that you feel obligated.
I am indebted to someone who gave you a kindness who did you a favor by giving you a job
this has to do with an almost feudal class system in the Philippines. Valorous has her grandparents had that relationship with their boss because they thought that this person, who was another Filipino that only care home, was doing them. This favor, this great kindness, TAT, allowed
have a new life in the United States. Valerie says: there's another filipino concept at play. Here it's called cop la cop. What means are being togetherness? It is a way that
Filipino see their social relations with one another. As about uplifting the collective good. She says the circle of copper can extend to fellow coworkers the residents they care for the families back in the Philippines and even their employer Win Romero offers them to have a holiday at the care home they
ten you to work. If you feel like you're care, home owner or the elderly. Folks are your family. You won't work.
To leave because you're already current spending time with your family, which is an obvious breach, work conditions. I spoke to dozens of caregivers,
They all told me how they were overworked and underpaid, but they rarely reported it to authorities. I asked nor meta if she ever complained and in that gambling I let it go
memory complained that I d love me
but someone must have complained. I found that out after
calling federal regulators and reviewing reams of core documents from cases all over the country, I uncovered case after case of wage sapped. That's one
Employer doesn't pay for all the hours that someone's worked. Operators were
breaking minimum wage overtime and record keeping laws.
You shouldn't why'd, I found fourteen hundred cases about a third of them were in California and
One of them jumped out at me
Rommel an Glenda Peublo CO in twenty thirteen. There
ordered to pay more than a hundred and thirty three thousand dollars and back wages to twenty two employees, including Sonia that's how she turned up in that strip. Mall parking lot with that shit
you want me to show it to you to a bird that you need me to sign. I forget my glass. Sonya still has the paperwork from the Department of Labour I've been show it to you.
Wages, the money was a surprise. She hadn't realized. Rommel was breaking U S labour laws, and now he was asked to sign it.
Realized were MEL, was breaking? U S: labour laws and now
She was asked to sign the paper to prove to the government that he'd paid the money. I said what is this at the low? What is this
Why should I find this report? I find this. I need a check. Where is that jack?
Eventually, he gave her the check and she agreed.
To sign that document for removal, but that moment of victory it was fleeting because remember
The bank were a male made Sonia hand, all the money back to him. What was going through your head at that moment when a shrill doing that to me? What do you think of me? I am sad because that's my money. We walk bent it for our work in the home she's a liar
his greedy. I think his greedy Sonya tells me that later she was mattered herself for giving them money back
but she felt like she didn't even have a choice. What can I do? I'm afraid? Because I think you will pardon me if me we're gonna go
Ramallah says he didn't do anything wrong that he treated as workers a fairly but three other.
Employees say that Romania also made them return back wages. As for nor Meta, she never even gotta check she and Sonya keep working for him, hoping things will get better and they do a little. He gives them a raise. A small
one and Sonya get Sundays off without having to pay her replacement, but not much.
Else, changes for now
federal regulators already,
came down on Rommel, but what he doesn't realise is that other investigators will soon be taking a closer look.
So on the day that we do the search warrant we
Commodore at this point. You might be wondering how does
anyone even get into this business it turns out. There is a whole industry out there to help. People
started. I do not know of a
of business model like
that is why we call American
tat business opportunity. That's next on reveal
from the centre for investigative reporting and p r exe
from the centre for investigative, reporting and p r ex this is reveal. A mallet today were following story of two women,
So when you desert in a meter, live
found themselves working around the clock, taken care seniors in residential care facilities. The women only to come about two thousand, our
the care home industry they work in is growing nationwide, because there is huge demand and the potential to make big profits. They communicate
is going to be about how do
Will you make money online? A residential assistant levy facilities. Show me the money you tube is full of videos like this one from something called assisted Living university. They have lots of advice on how to get started,
for small residential care homes, the bars pretty low, no formal training, a cure. You I've never been carefully review,
and nor do I have any formal medical training or background no form of medical training. So what do you need first piece of real estate to convert into a care home? Then stateless?
California. That means initially taking in eighty. Our training course that folks,
is mainly on administrative stuff. If you want to
we're gonna care home like Sonia in or meta. You only need forty hours of train. This is in a state,
That requires a manic yours to get ten times that amount and once
business is up and running you can
pull in more than a quarter of a million dollars a year. We ve just six clients
I do not know of another business models like TAT S, why we call it America's tat business opportunity. This is all in
causes really come in. Here is a car in come people who want to make that in come. Have a lot of support
reveals Jennifer Garland meet up with a man who could help them money.
It can dreams come true when I meet Brian Simpson he tells,
he's making plans to go Para gliding, isn't it
but where we live and in Paris, that's Paris, California
near whereon lives and looks like he's living. Thus, southern California dream he's in
Seventys, with glisten
silver hair a perfect tan. Picking out from the top of his unbutton shirt, I offer a coffee, but he S. Fourteen I get the yogi d at parties
There's a lot weaker than this dandelions. He did you give him
and got into the care home business when his wife's grandmother, who we call Grannie needed more help. They had put her in
pressing home, but she hated it. One day RON had an eye
dear saw I'm lying in bed watching about
LA bills play Football game Windsor the Sunday times found for houses for rent. Looked at him
where'd, they invented a house that day they moved. Grannie n
RON says within weeks, her health and so much he thought to himself. I should do this for a living he didn't have any.
Kind of training in caregiving, but he quit his job and product development bought a house and got to work.
Ninety four early, ninety five taken care of other residents as well as granting and doing it ever since, it's the most rewarding
Funny thing I've done in my life, so fulfilling that run help start a group called six beds. It represents more than
thousand other small care home operators like him, who run places with six beds, are less the group lobbies for laws that are good for business and it holds public workshops to educate people already in the field or who are thinking about getting started
I visited one recently at an auditorium in LOS Angeles, we wanted
can find their seats bronze. Given the interest speech in front of about a hundred people,
it's a mix of men and women, mostly wider Filipino dressed business, casual coffee and styrofoam cups,
browning bananas set out a stacks and american flag,
Is it the front of the room, we're gonna start with a pledge of allegiance
In the afternoon session labour regulators explained the labour laws that apply to the industry and then there's the
data permanent social services which licences care home operators. There are there to bed all that
him after spending the morning listing the people had a different kind of message, saying yes yet to follow the laws, but they also have
lots of advice on how to do the bare minimum for maximum profits and the biggest place to cut costs. Employees,
the answer I appreciate it. George could Marianne takes the MIKE he overseas public
also in legislation for six beds and he's all about saving money. For example, the law requires private quarters for the caregivers, but George says they don't say
a bedroom as under local zoning laws that we use the term quarters and my, in my opinion, the garage
It meets all the furnishing requirements set down his orders.
Again, is there some grey areas sure, but they never used the term bedroom ass, any home life? I spoke with caregivers, who did
sleep in the garage on the living room, sofa even on the floor. I also found a case where an operator charge caregivers, twenty five dollars a day for their lodging. Another thing: George talks about our breaks, which are required by
some states like California, when there's more than one caregiver on duty. At a time, employees can leave the house to take meals or rest breaks
but he says wire, then too,
as is so late.
We but they're not allowed me. That means the caregivers.
Stuck at the house. The state doesn't require
any more than one worker on duty, even when they have to take care of six people and George points out having one caregiver is a good way to see.
Money. You want your workers who stay overnight on the premises to be classified as linen so that you can take advantage of that. You take advantage of that because, as George says, you don't have to pay live in workers for the time their support,
to be sleeping overnight. Basically, when they get fired that not one to five hours, sleep a five hour,
Listening to all of this, I kept thinking about Sonya nor Meta. They told me they could never.
Get enough sleep because the residents would constantly wake them up. As George wrapped up his talk
the encourages care homeowners to quote respectfully pushed back on,
partners, social services or ds ass? If they ask you to do something that could cut into
So there's this dss workers all as also
These are all miss
a lot of times what Bff has been asking. You cuz I'm going to work from awaiting our standpoint
some of what I heard and that workshops seemed to put profits over employees, and I wondered
A kind of message could lead some employers to think. Well, it's ok to take advantage of workers. For example, doored clearly told the crowd that they don't really need to caregivers to run a six bed facility. Here's what wrong Simpson
said about that when I asked him. I don't know anybody in these days that uses one caregiver, but when he got
started in this business twenty five years ago, when it was an unusual forests, expend facility to get by was one caregivers.
Because most of the people in those homes then were fairly independent. Now this
any home, never doesn't have at least two caregivers, but that's not what I found. I uncovered cases from the past few years, we're just one caregiver was on duty,
ring for six residents around the clock unable to
the home, even for doctors, appointments but run, tries to
convinced me that that justice,
happening any more, so it so
like you're, saying that operators
didn't play by the rules and didnt pay their workers properly is a thing of the past. Is that right? It doesn't sound nice to phrase it like there,
playing by the rules. I think that.
Most everybody that does this work. Does it because they care about
elderly and to try to make their life as
the joyful as it can be when they get to them
point where their line independent and they don't necessarily think about or know exactly was involved with labour requirements and right
says it's not just the owners her in it for altruistic reasons. The employees are too, and he says what's up
setting workers is the increased scrutiny and bad press around wage theft and abuse until the autumn started and the publicity started. We give
this industry, a bad name
the caregivers were really happy with their situation. There weren't they haven't me because they had a place where they could live there.
They loved what they were doing. They were fulfilled by enriching somebody else's life will accept
you always were exceptions. There were people it owners. It took advantage of caregivers in that
the started, but most carriers are extremely happy, especially.
On says the filipino caregivers? It's it's in their culture.
There are some kind in compassionate in loving people. In fact, he only higher
filipino caregivers at his chain of care homes
I've interviewed a lot of other people.
Nobody really picks it up and nobody is fulfilled. By
caring for the elderly the way I've seen them Filipinos do it, I could.
Find somebody. They grew up
like I did in the: U S who would work in? Do the work and do it as well and do it for minimum
run sees. Caregiving is just a natural career path for filipino immigrants. I wondered what Valerie Francisco
Men charges would think of that she's, a sociologist
to grow up in a cure home, whether grandparents, I don't think, there's any
inherent about Filipinos, taking caregivers
until the elderly jobs, these are the jobs that are available to Filipinos here
coming to the United States, wages
from overseas workers, make up ten percent of the Philippines GDP valleys
it's not an accident that so many caregivers, our filipino immigrants, there's a decades old labour pipeline.
Runs from the islands to the: U S, its former colonies are in the twenty and thirty.
It was farm workers in the Eightys and Ninetys nurses and now caregivers
always been a link between workers coming from the Philippines.
And working in the most. You know dispensable disposable, domestic and
cheap labour in the United States. Contrary to what wrong
Simpson says Valerie says these workers are not content to do difficult work for minimum wage because they are from a kind and loving people. It doesn't just come from
Filipino Knesset comes from their disempowered:
positions as micro.
Hers newcomers to the United States some immigrants in their lack of ability to have other people advocate for them.
This kind of exploitation is an issue in states with large filipino immigrant communities like New Jersey and California, but plenty of other, and
are, in this same disempowered position there all part of an industry that thing
increasingly hiring emigrants and people of color and those groups
the lowest paid and most at risk of labour exploitation, the kind of exploitation I found in the care home industry. I took this in
Iran Simpson and I told him that I'd uncovered fourteen hundred cases of wage theft,
another labour violations over the last decade? How big a deal is
eighteen hundred. I mean it sounds pretty dramatic, but it's not something. I've heard
I don't know. What's the significance of that to you? Well, you are in the business of that
we are asking you will know what we're talking about went sixpence is doing to try.
Educate people to be compliant to understand. What's require. I give him a chance to taken this information and x
Do you been on this for a long time we ve been talking a long time. This is this
why I'm even reporting this story
No, how you made your decision to investigate this, but somebody supporting it. Do you
on this. For a long time, we ve been talking a long time. This is the second workshop
become too, and we talked long before that, so someone's
and a big investment in this. We are not guns for higher
or independent reporters,
recent we're doing a story is its in the public. Interest were interested in
how the industry is placing itself power
Paris for caregivers, how caregivers
treated and evidence
Some of them are earning two to three dollars an hour. You really,
We hope that some of them are earning
two to three dollars an hour. Well, there, d
comments and evidence to support their stories, and we ve spoken with dozens of workers who have told us that there are earning two to three
dollars an hour. What do you make of them? Would if I'm
suspicious that that's probably not accurate data caregivers,
don't understand when there
investigations and, while RON seems to be saying, caregivers dont know what they're talking about work.
I know my numbers are accurate. The evidence comes
from federal and state investigations and, while RON seems to be saying, caregivers dont know what they're talking about workers like normal to Lamb.
Actually do understand when their working and when they're not cool, and then
in them and in a clean war
the work on our body
great under way.
And while they may not always feel brave enough to speak out, employs like Sonya Desert do know when their employers have cheated them like when Ramallah forced her to return or back pay. That's my pay because I worked bendy for hours in that possibility network my money.
There is one thing I haven't told you about when Sonia Return, that money to repel back in the Philippines
and Sonya majored in business in college, so she made a calculated move
before she handed over the cash she
run now sign a document. Henry
by her as a kind of receipt news is too short:
I always seem prom.
So no data. On July. Twenty three dented thirteen the amount of a thousand son.
Then a hundred and sixty six dollars in cash Sonya hopes that one day that document will help her get our money back soon.
It keeps all working for a mill, but soon and unexpected allies shows up at the care homes front door. Then, when I opened the door wary about police membership
don't move, don't move, don't move we had, but that's what I'm that's coming up next on veal
from the centre for investigative reporting and p r ex this is reveal a mallet
it's a sunny September morning in the northern California, suburb of Antioch and Sonya Desert, is up and about her routine. Today is like everyday awake at five: a m make breakfast for the group of seniors. She takes care of get them
bed and washed up its seven hundred and in the morning
We were ring than one patient in the bathroom, but on this day something interrupts routine
oh nothing, the doors to early wisdom
Then it's a door men soon. You goes to answer then. When I opened the door they have police. Here we were shocked, don't move, don't move, don't move. We had met
that's what I'm the care home we're Sonia works is being rated
the man on the other side of the door wants to hear her story is reveals Jennifer galling that man was an investigator named Jeff Swat men and I do flawed investigations. I'm an inspector with the contrast, gonna just
attorney's office, Contra cost accounting is where Sonya lives. Jeff was investigating her boss, Ramallah, Public co
he was still paying workers what amounted to two dollars an hour. Even after federal regulators had busted him for ripping them off. Jeff's job is to go after employers suspected of wage theft. He's investigated a lot of care homes and the stories are always pay
much the same? The tenants or their patients from every case I've ever had, are always well taken care of,
it's really their employees that are given the short into the stick hair.
Jeff investigated Romero, but he tells me he can't talk about the case because it still pending. He did agree, though.
To describe how these types of investigations usually go without naming names. He says he often first check out the home, posing as a potential
to mark. Would you stole my im so, and so my father's get to the point ram about ready to put
into a care home while they always let you M, because they want
business, and they show you around. Then he does somewhere. Research gets a search warrant and
that in here, and he goes back to the care home this time as himself so on.
Either we do the search warrant. We knock on the door like that morning here in a team of investigators showed up at the care home where Sonya was working. The first thing we do so
contact the employees, sell them down time IRA their time. They're not trouble for anything. She will show me there sat around them, then that panting, you state that the patient- and this can make us next police. We have again besides the soap opera after lunch time. This is the most high stakes drama that care home has ever seen. One of Sonya residents wants to know. What's going on, she said I have come here. We do have a lot of people, dare I told him you know way somewhere
do you love me? Ass reported the department of Labour. I said: that's not our broadband as tremendous problem. Sonya sit down to be interviewed, she is nervous,
The only mean I said, Miss Day he had been to pour out worse. We document,
much they're getting paid when they get paid how they get paid, whether there
being paid below minimum wage, whether there
being paid over time. I have a check. I said you like me to show Digital. Yes, maybe to me, so I saw it.
Yeah he's my January six
red, thirty nine in two weeks,
now how much our I should almost two dollars
then to the investigator one thing on
on your mind that seventeen-
thousand dollar. She says Ramallah took from her. Sonya still has the receipt. She had a sign to prove what he did, but she doesn't mentioning two investigators, she's,
aired and she doesn't want to lose our job. She also worries that are coworker might rather outer a male and if other care home operators find out, she talked she might get blacklisted joy. I had to be like it I'm a brain. Nobody will heighten me at
some point. Investigators go upstairs and always in these care facilities. You'll find documents related to the operation of the business and often times
We also find large amounts of cash. They found the door there
and brought the door there and get all the failings that filing shop, but that clients and all of us the end
secular, sees all the files and leave the next time around
comes to the house. He grew
all Sonia. Its second reminded me told me that, oh I heard you said that you were killed. Twenty four hours- I said yes, that is true
stay here bent upon our work, you will ruin my reputation. Do you want me to me a liar tonight,
that investigator oh no way. Oh, my goodness! Why didn't you say that and failing that through the trees,
angry. She wants me to lead to the investigator. No, but remember, doesn't
fire. Her and life at the care home continues. I'm still working continue working
Investigators interviewed other workers who told them with Sonya was too afraid to say
There were MEL drove them to the bank, forced them to cash checks for back wages and then took the money for himself Jeff, swap
says what Ramallah did was one of the most egregious cases he seen, but not on common. These kids
Let's take a long time to develop into actually bring him to conclusion, and I
they have time to go out and check all these facilities. I talked to dozens of investigators, regulators and attorneys. They see this type of behave
is endemic in the care home industry, not just in California, but across the country and there's problem,
Belief far more than those fourteen hundred cases that I found. But there is another thing: when owners get cod, they rarely face the consequences. Some declare bankruptcy to avoid paying a fine others just ignore it.
For they play these corporate shall games. One woman I found declared bankruptcy. The kept a hand in the business after she transfer control of it to her mother,
to do this for the rest of my life and not even scratch the surface of the wage theft and worker
compensation, insurance fraud that occurs here.
Federal regulators are supposed to protect workers, so he asked California licensing agents.
Why it's allowing at least twenty care companies to continue to operate illegally after they ve been caught, stealing workers wages?
Head of the agency would agree to an interview, but a spokesperson said they couldn't put them out of business unless they found a threat to the health and safety of the resident
They never mentioned the workers
U S, department of Labour or do you well wooden talked me either. Instead,
They sent me a rehash statement from last year, saying they recovered a cool record, setting three hundred and four million dollars and back wages and that they were doing lots of outrage to educate operators. But if that's the case,
Then why are there so many workers still waiting for their back wages? The house will be in order
I met with democratic congresswoman
Rosa De Loro of Connecticut she's, the new chair of the House of Committee, that oversees labors budget she's, a passionate speaker and in a sea of blue and grey suits. She stands out. She's wearing colors, like the plumage of a tropical bird bright orange scar.
Line, green shirt and purple hair. So we have this vulnerable population.
Do you well has stepped back and allowed
to happen so then who's gonna pay
take these vulnerable people. It falls to the Congress since there has been application at the agency level that the Congress these take. This on the lurid says, she's been trying in twenty seventeen she said
answered a bill to fight wage theft. It died in committee that
I met her. She had just introduced a new budget provision that would lead deal well higher five hundred additional inspectors, but the agency has to be willing.
Go after employers, I believe in compliance we want to get people to comply, but they are unwilling to deal with severe enforcement and strict enforcement of the law and apply the penalties that would deter these
from that kind of behavior at the local level. Some prosecutors are acting on their own. California is one of a few states, were prosecutors, are filing crow
the charges against care homeowners, and that brings us back to repel public co
about a year after the raiders care home, Sonya still working there. She starts noticing that some things off
Renault and his wife there, showing up every day, just paint
systemic seemed all the things there I. Why did you
except that get home when Sonya asks what's going on, they just trouble.
Off only me, everybody admit the patient. I said, oh really,
and then one day another man shows up at the door,
they do. Then let them do that, even so. This care home, I said no
say anything about this opportunity. Sonya. Never
turns out who he is, but within weeks, Rommel shuts down the care home, because his shoulder Airhole people, uproar depletion of the dead, no more just only said that this already closed and you have the moon. So we can achieve
just like that. Sonya lost her livelihood and her home. Of course, I'm said.
Because I had no job again, the contrast idea
his charge, Romero England Approval CO with several felonies, including tax evasion in grand theft. A judge also prevented the public goes from cashing in on their properties when,
so the homes, the money went into a special account that they couldn't touch theoretically
when he could eventually make its way to caregivers after the peace,
because saw the home or normal to Lamb worked. She stayed.
With a new owner for a month, and then she quit
The new owner- I don't like him
this is worse than from the net staying here, but she in Ramallah do stand touch and she has mixed feelings about that. He kept calling me
Any time, though, I wonder why you calling me no. I just want to hear your voice here. Still contact me. Do you still trust him?
so many more eaten pulse sweet, but there is now a reality:
and that money he owes her. She doubts shall ever see it.
It may well. Do I'm telling you
can squeeze his blood. Is you?
Being done, he is you and being so, wages have the basins and our wait. There's something coming will be thankful to guide
several months. Ivory shall tyrconnel many times. I've spoken to him on the phone for hours, but he refused to meet.
Person. So one day I drive up to his house not far from the care
Where's Sonya worked its this big
story home on a tree line street with a deck, overlooking this beautiful golf course. I'm here for Ramallah, lilies name O Glenda Asthma
Oh? I see? Ok, do I get back in the car and I call Rommel he answers, but it's hard to hear him.
Hey Romero its jangling hurry, you I'm actually at your house,
god I'm an older woman dead. Oh that's, your mom ah
Berkeley. Now, in the past, Ramallah told me he treated as caregivers like his own mother. How does that square with care
Drivers who are saying they were paid to
there's an hour to work around the clock it's hard to hear, but he tells me he didn't cheat them. I continue to press him, but he won't answer any more questions. All he says is he's praying a lot. What are you praying for peace of mind? I've been reporting on this story for almost a year, consumed with spreadsheets core documents, investigative files, but there's one thing: I keep coming back to
at the heart of this story is how we, as a country, take care of our elders and how we treat our caregivers bystander reservoirs is in ever more men. Sure nor meta takes me to meet one of her favorite residents. Richer.
I can endorse she looked after him for nearly a decade, but they haven't seen each other in a couple of years. He's
in a different care home now.
I've been going, Norma I'll go
not bad. My chair is the bed before Richard landed the public health care home. He was living in a huge, expensive, nursing home, almost eight thousand dollars a month. He has no family, so he wasn't getting any visitors, he hated the food and he felt like a number but
and he met nor meta. Remember it said I was there when you arrive, why fallen
I was quite impressed. I was hearing them talk, it's clear how close they got at the care home this place. Nor me, too, looked after Richard and Richard
worried about her. She was always doing something and preparing our croaking preparing
the next Malian oh yeah
achieving alone origin seem like Norma had enough time off. Really he had all you ass. She was putting an extra hours extra time therein, oh yeah. This is vital work taking care of older Americans who, in some cases, have nowhere else
go and despite those long hours and rock bottom pay caregivers, like normal
Sonia. They develop deep bonds where their residence.
They really are like family
I just saw days of our lives, Norma, Chad and
A gale are leaving Shimon Peres.
And they get married before ending that'll part habitat. Ok, Richards has his new place
so K. My, but nothing like the old days with nor meta
we are really dismay. Let me go.
For I don't love you name or happy like ninety workers in residential care homes are being exploited across the United States as we bludgeoned Jennifer
covered. Fourteen hundred cases you can find out of this is happening in your community. By visiting our website reveal news.
Dot, org, slash caregivers, where we set up a surgical database and why you there take a deeper dive into our complete coverage, including photographs of the people you heard from in the story
today, show, as reported by Jennifer Golly, only produce
It was announced, ideas, quarters, Genji and edited the show. We had a deal
reporting from Alyssa Louis enrich a daily on
the elder, nor does Aquino senior data editor Michael Corey, managing editor, Andy Donoghue, and our community engagement specialists, Deanna Montagnier, our production managers,
energy, but many a window in a host original scorn
down designed by the dynamic dual J Breezy, Miss Jim Briggs
but Nando. My main yo Aruba that help from clear
he no moment. Caitlin bans are see eels. Croatia from bad Thomson is our editor in chief
then our executive producer is Kevin's. Elevate. Earthy music is by comrade lighten support for reveals provided by the Raven David Logan Foundation, the John D, and can T Macarthur Foundation the Jonathan Logan family.
Nation before foundation, the Housing Simons Foundation and the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation reveal is a co production of the same
four investigative reporting in p x, amount lesson and remember. There is always more to the story.
These are last few shows of the year, and let me tell you in twenty twenty we are bringing the fire launching some of our most ambitious projects we ve ever done. I can wait for you to hear them reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads
telling stories that matter and this kind of investigative journalism. Well, it takes time and it costs money. These are the final weeks
for end of the year membership campaign. We depend on listeners like you to help make this work possible to support us just takes. The word reveal to four seven four, seven, four, seven forty data rates apply and you can take stop or cancel at any time again. Just takes a word ravine
I'll do for seven, four, seven, four. Seven, let's go! Do some good work together.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-19.