A Bladensburg, Md. woman who ran an illegitimate care-taking facility is accused of stealing money from her vulnerable patients, in addition to neglecting and abusing them.
Zanaib Kamara allegedly picked up her victims when they were released from rehabilitation centers, tricking them into thinking she ran an assisted living facility at a condo on Newton Street.
"People there used to wander in the community, ask for cigarettes, all kinds of things," condo owner Edward King said. "We put her in foreclosure because she owed us about $25,000."
Prosecutors said Kamara would force the victims to live in the "facility" without heat in the winter and without proper care.
"Roaches all over the place, as many as five to eight people in at the time with only one bed so other people have mattresses on the floor," John Erzen with Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office said.
As a caretaker, she should have provided warm beds, food, medicine and transportation to doctor's appointments.
"She would never have wanted anyone to treat her loved ones, her vulnerable relatives in that matter. It's terrible and it needs to stop," a neighbor said.
Some of her victims claim they were held at the apartment against their will and didn't have family in the area to help, according to Erzen.
"The investigators had never seen this level of targeting and preying on people who really had no ability to care for themselves," Lt. William Alexander with Prince George's County Police said.
Sources told News4 Kamara would allegedly pocket the victims' government checks, like social security, and would even be so bold to take them to ATMs where she forced them to withdraw cash.
Kamara has been charged with multiple crimes in a 57-count indictment. Police said she had been arrested on abuse allegations before, but charges were dropped due to difficulties in the investigation.
"They've spent hundreds of hours investigating this woman and trying to develop a case to really finally seek justice against her for these victims," Lt. Alexander said.
So far, police said there have been 5 victims but they believe there could be more.