Massachusetts mental health worker accused of preying on client

Via Peters

A Cape Cod woman entrusted to care for vulnerable people is accused of preying on a young man with mental health issues. Lesley Aldarsi is accused of stealing thousands of dollars and damaging him emotionally. Even more troubling is her criminal history and the flaws in the system her conduct exposes.Aldarsi has already been convicted of stealing money from vulnerable people in the past. Now she’s charged in another case of broken trust.”I think that she is a manipulator,” said Michelle Bowlin, whose 26-year-old son Pat has mental health and substance use issues. “What she did to my son is it’s unforgivable.”The Bowlin family put their trust in the state’s Department of Mental Health to help get Pat into a group home in Harwich group home where he could gain skills to become more independent. She said that is when counselor Aldarsi preyed upon her son, harming him financially and emotionally.5 Investigates: “They broke your trust?”Michelle Bowlin: “They did.”5 Investigates: “And his trust?”Michelle Bowlin: “Absolutely, absolutely. He doesn’t trust anything within that system right now.”According to court records obtained by 5 Investigates, Aldarsi made Pat Bowlin feel like they were in a relationship and began asking him for money. She told him she needed it to pay her bills.Pat told police Aldarsi drove him to different banks on the Cape to withdraw almost $10,000 in cash for her over four months. He handed her some of the cash in envelopes to pay for his rent at the group home, but the home never received a dime.”The rent never made it to who it needed it to go to,” his mother said. “And so, then they were sending Patrick notes, saying, ‘You know, we never got your rent.'”Aldarsi told investigators she used the money to feed her drug habit.”She would say, ‘You know, I’ve been in jail before,” Michelle Bowlin said, adding her son, “He just thought like, he was helpless.”That is what makes this case even more troubling. Lesley Aldarsi has done time in jail and her alleged financial and emotional abuse of Pat Bowlin is not the first time she has been accused of a crime like this.In 2008, she was put on probation for stealing $900 from another client as well as money from the office in the same group home in Harwich. She completed probation and the charges were dismissed.Court records show Aldarsi was an employee of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health at the time, and that she was fired.Four years later Aldarsi, served 18 months in jail for stealing $109,000 from an elderly couple she was caring for. The couple wrote her checks after she told them she needed money and she rang up thousands in charges on their credit card even after one of her clients died.In 2005 she was accused of stealing a deposit bag filled with more than $2,000 in cash from Cumberland Farms. She admitted to the facts and the charges were eventually dismissed.”I find it reprehensible,” Michelle Bowlin said. “It makes me sick to think about it.The Harwich group home is now run by Vinfen, a company contracted by DMH to provide mental health services there and across the state.A spokesperson for Vinfen said the non-profit conducts background checks on all employees and based on the results, and state regulations, they make individual decisions about how a potential employee could fit with the organization.5 Investigates also spoke with Karen Gromis, deputy director of development at NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Massachusetts. “Quality care is what we expect,” she said about mental health workers. “They’re entrusted with the care of a person who is diagnosed with a mental health condition and is trying to be resilient and recover and reach a level of stability. Obviously, the better the clinician or other staff member is in terms of their background to do this job, the better it is for the client.”We asked Michelle Bowlin what she hopes will come out of Aldari’s latest criminal case. “Well, the hope is that she goes to jail for a very long time and isn’t able to do this to anyone else,” she said.Both Vinfen and the DMH said they are focused on the wellbeing of clients receiving services and when allegations arise, they investigate, work with police, and implement corrective action.An attorney for Aldarsi had no comment.

A Cape Cod woman entrusted to care for vulnerable people is accused of preying on a young man with mental health issues.

Lesley Aldarsi is accused of stealing thousands of dollars and damaging him emotionally.

Even more troubling is her criminal history and the flaws in the system her conduct exposes.

Aldarsi has already been convicted of stealing money from vulnerable people in the past. Now she’s charged in another case of broken trust.

“I think that she is a manipulator,” said Michelle Bowlin, whose 26-year-old son Pat has mental health and substance use issues. “What she did to my son is it’s unforgivable.”

The Bowlin family put their trust in the state’s Department of Mental Health to help get Pat into a group home in Harwich group home where he could gain skills to become more independent. She said that is when counselor Aldarsi preyed upon her son, harming him financially and emotionally.

5 Investigates: “They broke your trust?”

Michelle Bowlin: “They did.”

5 Investigates: “And his trust?”

Michelle Bowlin: “Absolutely, absolutely. He doesn’t trust anything within that system right now.”

According to court records obtained by 5 Investigates, Aldarsi made Pat Bowlin feel like they were in a relationship and began asking him for money. She told him she needed it to pay her bills.

Counselor accused of preying on client with mental health issues

Pat told police Aldarsi drove him to different banks on the Cape to withdraw almost $10,000 in cash for her over four months. He handed her some of the cash in envelopes to pay for his rent at the group home, but the home never received a dime.

“The rent never made it to who it needed it to go to,” his mother said. “And so, then they were sending Patrick notes, saying, ‘You know, we never got your rent.'”

Aldarsi told investigators she used the money to feed her drug habit.

“She would say, ‘You know, I’ve been in jail before,” Michelle Bowlin said, adding her son, “He just thought like, he was helpless.”

That is what makes this case even more troubling. Lesley Aldarsi has done time in jail and her alleged financial and emotional abuse of Pat Bowlin is not the first time she has been accused of a crime like this.

In 2008, she was put on probation for stealing $900 from another client as well as money from the office in the same group home in Harwich. She completed probation and the charges were dismissed.

Court records show Aldarsi was an employee of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health at the time, and that she was fired.

Four years later Aldarsi, served 18 months in jail for stealing $109,000 from an elderly couple she was caring for. The couple wrote her checks after she told them she needed money and she rang up thousands in charges on their credit card even after one of her clients died.

In 2005 she was accused of stealing a deposit bag filled with more than $2,000 in cash from Cumberland Farms. She admitted to the facts and the charges were eventually dismissed.

“I find it reprehensible,” Michelle Bowlin said. “It makes me sick to think about it.

The Harwich group home is now run by Vinfen, a company contracted by DMH to provide mental health services there and across the state.

Counselor accused of preying on client with mental health issues

A spokesperson for Vinfen said the non-profit conducts background checks on all employees and based on the results, and state regulations, they make individual decisions about how a potential employee could fit with the organization.

5 Investigates also spoke with Karen Gromis, deputy director of development at NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Massachusetts. “Quality care is what we expect,” she said about mental health workers. “They’re entrusted with the care of a person who is diagnosed with a mental health condition and is trying to be resilient and recover and reach a level of stability. Obviously, the better the clinician or other staff member is in terms of their background to do this job, the better it is for the client.”

We asked Michelle Bowlin what she hopes will come out of Aldari’s latest criminal case. “Well, the hope is that she goes to jail for a very long time and isn’t able to do this to anyone else,” she said.

Both Vinfen and the DMH said they are focused on the wellbeing of clients receiving services and when allegations arise, they investigate, work with police, and implement corrective action.

An attorney for Aldarsi had no comment.

https://www.wcvb.com/article/cape-counselor-accused-of-preying-on-client-with-mental-health-issues/39049321

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