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Two accused of running unlicensed ALF

A Clearwater couple, on probation in a similar case, is again arrested on charges of operating an unlicensed assisted living facility.

By CHRIS TISCH
Published May 26, 2004

CLEARWATER - For the second time in the last six months, a Clearwater couple have been arrested on charges they were running an unlicensed assisted living facility.

Mariano Doreza, 59, and Bella Doreza, 60, were arrested Tuesday morning, both on felony charges of running an unlicensed facility. Both were held at the Pinellas County Jail on Tuesday afternoon in lieu of $5,000 bail.

The two also were arrested in January on the same charges. Both pleaded guilty last month and were sentenced to two years of probation.

In that case, Clearwater police were alerted in March 2003 to an unlicensed facility the couple was operating on S Aurora Avenue. A woman complained to police that her father had been living at the facility and was at times unsupervised, court records state.

The woman also told police she saw "difficult living conditions" at the facility, records state.

Mariano Doreza acknowledged to police that he and his wife were dispensing medications and food to residents there. Records don't say how many people were living there at the time.

Doreza told officers that insurance costs made operating the establishment as an assisted living facility impractical, records state.

Police referred the case to the State Attorney's Office. Prosecutors issued a capias, which is similar to a warrant, for the couple's arrest in November. No charges of abuse or neglect were filed, though police reported the couple to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

On Jan. 25, police learned that the couple had set up another facility in the 1900 block of Cleveland Street. Though the couple called the facility a boarding house, they provided meals and medications to patients there, court records state.

Police also found that Bella Doreza was receiving patients' Social Security checks, cashing them and giving the patients a portion of the money.

The couple was arrested on charges relating to the Aurora Avenue house four days later while prosecutors reviewed the circumstances surrounding the Cleveland Street facility.

Prosecutors issued a capias for both Dorezas on Thursday in connection with the Cleveland Street home.

[Last modified May 26, 2004, 01:00:46]


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