May 16, 2018

File
This 8 Avenue B home in Key Largo served as an unlicensed elder care facility, according to law enforcement agencies.

File This 8 Avenue B home in Key Largo served as an unlicensed elder care facility, according to law enforcement agencies.

KEY LARGO — Amarylis Maristan, a caregiver who has been wanted by the police since last June after a multi-agency investigation implicated her in elder abuse cases at two unlicensed facilities in the Upper Keys, was arrested last month by Miami-Dade Police Department.

Maristan was caring for six elderly women in 2016, when one of the patients, an 85-year-old woman, died from complications of septic shock due to pneumonia, four were found to have urinary tract infections and five had skin lesions or bed sores, the police report states.

Maristan has posted bond since her April arrest on felony neglect charges. Once the bond amount is released to Monroe County, she will be issued a court date, according to Monroe County State Attorney’s Office spokesman Larry Kahn.

Arrest records show that Maristan was picked up in Miami but gave police a home address in Orlando. Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Detective Robert Dosh initally suspected that Maristan had absconded to Cuba to avoid arrest.

She was working under Miami Beach doctor Raul Arcadio Tamayo, 67, who was arrested in June 2017.

Both have been charged with two second-degree felony counts for neglect of an elderly or disabled adult after operating unlicensed elderly living facilities at 173 Ocean Drive on Plantation Key from April to October 2016, and at 8 Avenue B in Key Largo from October to December 2016, according to the police report.

The two allegedly cared for six female patients over the age of 80, all with chronic and acute conditions requiring medical care and multiple prescription medications, reports say. All the patients were bed- or wheelchair-bound, had limited speaking ability, were diagnosed with memory loss or dementia, and were incontinent.

Tamayo is accused of failing to provide care for the elderly patients at the facilities and for falsifying records to indicate he was providing care. He is also accused of knowing the facilities were unlicensed and that Maristan, the woman supervising them, was not medically trained.

Investigators say Tamayo was being paid by Medicare for services he was not providing. A federal investigation is continuing into possible Medicare fraud, reports say.

The investigation began after Dosh and an investigator with the Florida Department of Children and Families responded on Nov. 30, 2016, to a report of possible elder abuse. DCF received a complaint from Mariners Hospital in Tavernier after an elderly woman who had suffered a seizure at 8 Avenue B was brought to the hospital in cardiac arrest, reports say.

The 85-year-old victim was revived and transferred for treatment to Homestead Hospital, where she died the following day. Autopsy results later showed she died of “complications of septic shock due to pneumonia.”

Investigations revealed at the time of her death she was underweight, suffered from malnutrition and had been experiencing seizures. Tamayo had billed the government for seizure medication that was never given to the victim, reports say.

Maristan was interviewed after the woman was brought to the hospital. She reportedly gave permission for investigators to enter the residence where the victim had been prior to being taken to the hospital.

Inside the 8 Avenue B home, investigators found numerous mattresses against the walls and four more elderly woman. The remaining women were transported to Mariners Hospital and then to a licensed care facility.

Maristan was asked if a doctor was caring for the elderly victim, and she said the woman was being seen by Tamayo, whom she said would make house calls to the facility and prescribe medications as needed, reports say.

Further investigation revealed the elderly victim was not being treated for her severe bed sores, nor was she being treated for the pneumonia she ultimately died from, reports say.

Investigators say that Tamayo falsified medical records to show he was seeing the victim in person. After the elderly patients at the home were removed and examined, a sixth victim was found with untreated pneumonia and untreated Parkinson’s disease, reports say.

Maristan, if convicted, could face 64.5 months behind bars under sentencing guidelines, according to Kahn. 

tjava@keysnews.com