Senior care business owner admits embezzlement, agrees to turn over $277K
A Spring Garden Township woman agreed to give up nearly $130,000, her role at two senior care companies, and their home office as she admitted to embezzling money from those businesses to purchase a new home.
She also agreed to pay back another $147,000.
Melinda Bixler, 49, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to a count of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity. Court documents show she waived indictment by a federal grand jury and agreed to a plea deal March 4, the day the case was filed and she was charged.
Bixler is accused of lying on bank statements and funneling money from her businesses — a for-profit company called Elder Healthcare Solutions and the nonprofit Adult Care Advocate — to purchase a $685,000 house.
To accomplish this, investigators said Bixler funneled money from the businesses to herself, including $78,000 from a 94-year-old client’s bank account, as well as another $350,000 she moved through her son by allegedly claiming he gifted the funds to her. Bixler also allegedly forged a letter to a bank, claiming a house she’d purchased at 4070 W. Market St., which served as the office for the two companies, was fully paid off. It wasn’t, and the allegations show she was still paying on it.
As part of the plea agreement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Harrisburg said Bixler agreed to pay back $147,882 to three former clients whose funds she had misappropriated. She also will forfeit the office property on West Market Street and $129,357 from an Adult Care Advocates bank account, and she’ll resign from the two companies.
She is waiting to be sentenced in this case.
The local investigation presented wider allegations from the embezzlement, such as Bixler using funds to purchase a car, taking her family on overseas vacations and possibly paying for her son’s drug rehabilitation.
That case hasn’t left the magisterial district court system since the charges were initially filed in January 2020. Documents show a hearing is scheduled for May 23 before District Judge Keith Albright.
— Aimee Ambrose can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.