Essential Pittsburgh
6:22 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Cambria County Guardianship Agency Under Investigation

Norma Carpenter's mother is a ward of Distinctive Human Services, the guardianship agency at the center of an embezzlement investigation.
Norma Carpenter's mother is a ward of Distinctive Human Services, the guardianship agency at the center of an embezzlement investigation.
Credit Halle Stockton / Public Source

The Social Security Administration is investigating the alleged embezzlement of funds from a Cambria County guardianship agency, which handles the finances of incapacitated people under its care.

Reporter Halle Stockton has been covering this story for Public Source.

In summarizing the story, Stockton says “Federal authorities, in this case the Social Security Administration, are trying to ascertain if an embezzlement occurred from the Cambria County guardian agency Distinctive Human Services. So they are probably looking through the books, talking to employees, we can’t really find out all the details of the investigation because of the Social Security Administration’s policy not to share details of ongoing investigations. But we do have a source who is privy to this because he is involved with it. He is a guardian of his wife who was previously under the care of Distinctive Human Services. He’s trying to recoup funds on her behalf.”

Joe Stigers helped give Stockton some key information including how much money may have been embezzled. "He reported back that they were discussing that more than $250,000 has been embezzled.”

When asked about how many other people may be affected by this case, Stockton says it's hard to tell at this point. Her source says this money could have come from several dozen wards, which include the elderly, some with dementia, and people affected by a serious brain injury.

She suggests that families be proactive when placing a loved one under the care of a guardianship agency.

“A lot of experts and advocates, will suggest that families get documents in order. Signed power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and I know after reporting about this, I talked to my own family about this.”