MARIETTA — An Austell woman has pleaded guilty to dozens of charges, including racketeering, theft, deprivation, false imprisonment, and false statements, in relation to operating an unlicensed personal care home in Marietta, Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds said.
The conditions of the home at 981 Laurel Springs Lane off Powder Springs Street, the treatment of the disabled and/or elderly women who were housed there, and the actions of Raequel Alita Penny, 43, and other conspirators led the Georgia Legislature this year to strengthen penalties for operating unlicensed homes, according to Kim Isaza, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.
This morning, Penny pleaded guilty to a total of 47 charges. Six women were kept in the basement of the home for various lengths of time in 2013. Victims told investigators that Penny and other caregivers in the home provided inadequate food, shelter and medicine, and denied them access to adequate toiletry facilities, among other crimes. Plywood had been used to partition the basement into “rooms” as small as 11 feet by 5 feet, Isaza said.
Assistant District Attorney Jason Marbutt said the case is about how residents treat the elderly and disabled.
“I hope the message was sent that these sorts of substandard conditions will not be tolerated,” he said.
Cobb Superior Court Judge LaTain Kell sentenced Penny to 20 years, with 10 years to serve in custody and the rest on probation.
Marbutt praised the work of the Marietta Police Department.
Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn concurred.
“This case highlights how state personnel, law enforcement, prosecutors and citizens can work together to raise awareness of elder abuse and protect these vulnerable citizens,” Flynn said.
Marietta attorney Charles Lane represented Penny, who has been held without bond since April 1.