The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office says a mother and daughter are responsible for running an illegal assisted living facility in Fort Pierce for the last six years.
Sheriff Ken Mascara says what alarmed him about this case is that their clients were mentally challenged adults locked in their rooms with dead bolts and no way out.
He says the refrigerator was locked, the clients couldn't access food or water and the staff had no medical training.
68-year-old Alfred Charlevoix and her daughter 36-year-old Claytresia Yearby were arrested and released on bond this week for running the facility under the name Jean's House of Refuge.
The sheriff's office says the women ran the facility out of two homes on Essex Drive in Fort Pierce,=
The sheriff says they had been given numerous warnings to obtain a license.
Sheriff Mascara says they had 12 patients who were being charged 500 dollars each month.
The sheriff's office is also trying to determine if the facility was fraudulently using clients’ debit cards to purchase food on top of their $500 per month fee.
The facilities have been closed down but the sheriff worries there are many others operating illegally. "People put their loved ones in these homes hoping they get the best care possible," the sheriff said.
The Florida Department of Children and Families is involved in placing the clients elsewhere