Former Walnut Ridge Nursing Home Owner Charged With Felony

JANUARY 21, 2005 - Posted at 3:30 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - State Insurance Commissioner Julie Benafield Bowman today announced that former Walnut Ridge Retirement Center owner Paul Minton has been charged with Failure to Secure Payment of Compensation, a class D felony.  Minton's attorney, Bill Stanley, says his client will be exonerated of the charges.  "Mr. Minton should'nt have been charged with anything," said Stanley. "The commission should have gone after the corporation that owned the facility, Walnut Ridge Retirement Centers, Inc."

Minton's corporation owned the facility between November 15, 2000 and January 22, 2002.  On Thursday, he pleaded not guilty in Lawrence County Circuit Court to charges filed by Lawrence County Deputy Prosecutor Clay Slogan, as a result of an investigation launched by the Arkansas Insurance Department's Fraud Investigation Division.

According to investigators, Minton and his business failed to maintain Workers' Compensation insurance on employees of the retirement center between November of 2000 and January of 2002.  During that period, at least three employees of the retirement center reported sustaining on-the-job injuries, totaling more than $20,000 in medical bills.

"Mr. Minton was not involved in the day to day operations at the retirement center and was not aware of the lapse in insurance coverage," said Stanley.  "Once he discovered the error, he reinstated the insurance policy."