SPRING HILL –
A former employee of a woman arrested earlier this month for operating an unlicensed assisted living home said she and her husband verbally and physically abused patients, deprived them of food and kept them in a bug-infested house with 10 dogs and cats, investigators said.
Gloria Olson, 62, of 6257 Swan Lane, was arrested March 4 following a joint investigation by the Department of Children and Families, the Agency for Heath Care Administration and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Florida Attorney General’s Office.
Earlier this year, investigators interviewed former employee Pamela Ivanscits, who had worked for the Olsons from June to September 2009. During the previous year, she occasionally watched over the patients at the house whenever the couple had to run errands or went out to dinner, she said.
Ivanscits said one of the patients, a 91-year-old woman, told her “help me honey, they are mean to me and they are hitting me,” according to a report written by investigator Andrea Chilton of the Attorney General’s Office.
When she talked about Olson’s husband, William Olson, she said “he had me down holding me by my neck,” Chilton wrote.
William Olson, 68, had not been charged as of Tuesday.
An additional charge of elderly abuse is expected to be filed against Gloria Olson in the near future, said Assistant State Attorney Don Barbee.
Her husband is a registered sex offender, which according to the investigation, prevented Olson from obtaining a license.
Ivanscits said she quit her job at the Olson home because she could no longer deal with the way the patients were neglected and she also was guardian to two seniors elsewhere in Hernando County.
Soon after quitting her job, she visited one of those seniors at Heron Pointe in Brooksville, at which time he told her he used to stay with the Olsons and they would hit him, investigators said.
Olson would tell Ivanscits to feed the patients a half of a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and 88-cent frozen dinners for dinner with water.
Ivanscits said she never saw juices or other drinks in the house and sometimes the bread would have mold on it.
The house also contained a wolf hybrid, two dogs and seven cats.
The investigation began in January when an anonymous caller contacted the DCF hotline. The caller would not give his or her name for fear of retaliation, according to the report.
There had been times there were up to five patients at the home. When Olson was arrested, there were three, investigators said.
One of the patients regularly complained she was hungry, and Ivanscits would sneak in food to her when the Olsons were not around, she said.
The patients were not allowed to receive phone calls, but when Ivanscits let the same patient speak to her friend who had called, the couple got angry.
The patient then told Ivanscits, “They yell at us a lot,” according to the report.
Another patient suffered from mental issues and the Olsons placed a lock on the door on the outside with an alarm that would alert them when she tried to come out, Ivanscits told Chilton.
Another patient, who was bed-ridden, wore diapers and William Olson once complained about “having to change her fat (expletive deleted).” Ivanscits said he blurted it out in front of the patient.
Gloria Olson has been charged three times in Hillsborough County with unlawful operation of a public transportation vehicle. She also runs a limousine business out of her Swan Lane home, according to a background check.
Court records also revealed Olson was convicted 35 years ago in Chesterfield County, Va., for one count of credit card fraud.
Ivanscits said the 91-year-old patient would be tied down in her recliner and her arms would be strapped down while she was in bed.
Her walker was taken away by Olson, who claimed she couldn’t get up or else she would fall and reinjure her hip.
Ivanscits would walk the patient around the house and she never fell down, according to the report.
She said she heard Olson refer to her as the “$2,000 a month lady.” The patient’s adoptive daughter said she actually paid Olson $2,500 per month to house and care for her.
Photos taken of the patient revealed she had bruises on her face, lip and around her eyes. Olson is accused of using makeup to cover up her injuries and hide them from her daughter.
Court records showed the patient was moved to another facility, is doing better and has regained full motion of her hip.
Reporter Tony Holt can be reached at 352-544-5283 or firstname.lastname@example.org.