Police: She bought new home, car, went on 'nice vacations.' Meanwhile, employee checks bounced, taxes weren't paid and utilities were cut
The owner of two West Manchester Township elder-care companies — one a nonprofit — spent money earmarked for indigent elderly people to buy herself a home, put her son through drug rehab and give to family members, West Manchester Township Police said.
Melinda R. Bixler bought a new Lexus and took her three children and boyfriend on "very nice vacations" to Australia and the Caribbean, according to charging documents.
She created two businesses, both located at 4070 W. Market St., police said — Elder Healthcare Solutions and the nonprofit Adult Care Advocates.
The purpose of the nonprofit was to provide financial assistance to clients in need, such as helping clients with rent money after a lengthy hospital stay, police said, while Elder Healthcare Solutions provided power-of-attorney services for people unable to manage their own financial affairs.
"I am in the process of reviewing the allegations contained within the criminal complaint," her defense attorney, Chris Ferro, told The York Dispatch. "This is a complicated matter. Further comment at this time on the substance of the charges would not be appropriate."
Seven felonies: Bixler, 47, of the 1600 block of South Wyndham Drive in Spring Garden Township, remains free on $200,000 bail, charged with seven first-degree felonies — three corrupt organization offenses, theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, conspiracy to commit theft and receiving stolen property, according to court records.
Charging documents state she bought her current home for $685,000 and used money she embezzled to do so. The 6,500-square-foot home has five bedrooms and 4½ bathrooms, according to Zillow.com.
Bixler, with the help of her 22-year old son, Zachary Bixler, moved money that was bequeathed to Adult Care Advocates to Elder Healthcare's bank account, to her own private bank accounts and co-mingled the money with her son's bank accounts, charging documents allege.
"In fact, the activity was so suspicious on (one) account that (M&T Bank's) Financial Investigation Unit conducted their own investigation into the matter," documents state.
When Zachary Bixler purportedly needed to go to drug rehab, Melinda Bixler allegedly told an employee it was going to cost $14,000, according to documents, which indicated she paid for his rehab stay.
Utilities shut off? Meanwhile, Elder Healthcare Solutions began to struggle financially, documents state — employees' paychecks were bouncing, utilities at the business office were being turned off and taxes weren't being paid, documents state.
Melinda Bixler's credit cards were being refused when she would try to pay for lunches, police allege.
Zachary Bixler remains free on $50,000 unsecured bail, charged with the felonies of being part of a corrupt organization, receiving stolen property and conspiracy to commit theft.
Defense attorney Stephen McDonald, who represents Zachary Bixler, said he had no immediate comment on Monday, Jan. 27.
York County detectives assisted West Manchester Township Police with the investigation.
They began investigating after a former Elder Healthcare employee brought her concerns to authorities, documents indicate.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.