Caregiver starves disabled man in Medicare con

Denies life-giving medicine and meals, then launches deadly coverup

2020 Hall of Shame

Carl DeBrodie was born with a severe developmental disability that left him unable to even speak. Yet he was a gentle soul with a ready smile — and a yen for coleslaw.

The Kansas City, Mo.-area man lived in a facility under the care of Sherry Paulo. Instead of helping Carl, Paolo abused him so mercilessly that he slid into starvation and death. All the while, Paolo falsely billed Medicaid nearly $107,000 for life-giving care she denied to Carl.

Stopped giving his medicines

As the manager of Second Chance Homes, Paulo supposedly cared for developmentally disabled residents and oversaw day-to-day operations. She was responsible for motoring Carl to medical appointments, and making sure he took the vital meal supplements and medicines his doctor prescribed.

Instead, Paolo starved Carl and denied him his medicines. He struggled to maintain his weight and health. Paolo even stopped taking Carl to his doctor. She forged medical and Second Chance records to cover up her denying Carl his essential care.

Paolo furtively moved Carl to her home basement to avoid investigators who might discover his declining health. The unfinished room was dark, and had no running water, sunlight or fresh air. Carl was in so much pain without enough food or medicine that “he would lie in bed howling,” federal prosecutors said at Paolo’s trial.

Falsely billed Medicaid

All the while, Paolo kept falsely billing Medicaid for Carl’s phantom caregiving. She kept faking medical documents. They included happy, made-up descriptions of how much he enjoyed his snacks and dancing to music. 

Carl finally suffered an acute medical emergency in Paolo’s squalid basement. He stopped breathing. Paolo was worried she’d be blamed for his malnourishment and death, so she let Carl die even though she knew CPR. Carl would never have coleslaw again.

Paolo kept Carl’s remains in a bathtub for several days. She finally placed him in a trash can, filled it with concrete and drove his body to the storage shed. 

Paolo was handed 17 ½ years in federal prison, and owes nearly $107,000 to Medicaid. Carl’s former guardian Mary Martin wants people to remember the real Carl, as he was in better days. “He literally was a happy camper,” she told the court.