BUFFALO, NY- The former Quality Improvement Director at Baker Victory Services in Lackawanna is facing 201 felony charges related to 28 cases of abuse and neglect.
The New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs says the charges against Kristin Hauser, 51, of Williamsville include 67 counts of forgery, 67 counts of falsifying business records and 67 counts of offering a false instrument for filing.
Justice Center findings showed that between 2014-2016, Hauser allegedly handled investigative cases of reported abuse and neglect that contained falsified statements and witness signatures, including those of employees and people receiving services. Those people were not aware that their names had been signed and did not consent to having them signed.
Hauser was employed by Baker Victory for 27 years and was responsible for approving and filing incident reports. She has since resigned.
"The actions of this defendant as charged in the indictment go to the heart of the work of the Justice Center," said Special Prosecutor Patricia Gunning. " The State Legislature, in passing the Protection of People with Special Needs Act, made clear that New York State viewed credible and reliable investigations of abuse and neglect of vulnerable persons as a priority. For a defendant who was responsible for ensuring the quality of those investigations to allegedly forge dozens of documents to be relied upon not just by the Justice Center but also by the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), and filing those forgeries with the state undermines the work of everyone involved in the investigations of abuse and neglect. This conduct, which may have affected numerous investigations, must be accounted for."
Gunning said the Justice Center is working closely with Baker Victory, OMH and OPWDD, and is re-investigating cases, as necessary, to make sure the findings which rely on falsified documents are correct. The Erie County District Attorney's office is also assisting in this case.
Hauser was arraigned before Erie County Court Judge Michael Pietruszka. She is currently free on $20,000 bail and is due back in court at a later date. If convicted, she faces 2 and 1/3 to 7 years in jail for each forgery count.