Health care workers say employer owes them thousands


Crittenden Care Services

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CRITTENDEN COUNTY, Ark. — Several Crittenden County health workers are putting pressure on their employer after being left unpaid for thousands of dollars worth of work.

It didn't take long to hear frustrations from workers at Crittenden Adult Care Services.

"I am behind in my bills. Everybody here. We all struggling right now, trying to make a way above water," said unpaid employee Denise Carter.

"I needed my money. My car got behind. Rent got behind," said Tierica Walton, who also hadn't been paid.

"We got kids, we got bills. We got responsibilities just like you," said Torrnericka McClure, who is also waiting on a paycheck.

They say the business owner Gwen Brown left them high and dry, owing them thousands of dollars for office work and taking care of adults at home.

The workers say they are owed from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

"She owes me almost $7,000," said Blanchie Moore.

These workers say they haven't been paid since May and they say Brown keeps coming up with excuses.

"Someone had hacked the payroll system in the account. She was filing charges against the person that worked here. Someone had stolen all the money in the account and put it on pre-paid cards. That's why she couldn't pay us June 1st," said Carter.

"You have all these workers, all these clients, where is the money? What are you doing with the money? " asked McClure.

"She don't have any money in the account because she have used the money for her personal needs," said Lena Joshua, who says she also hasn't been paid.

Online records that show at one time  had annual revenue of $1.1 million. They also had an office in St. Francis County, Arkansas that is now also closed.

Brown initially spoke to WREG off camera and explained how her hands were tied.

She said she has no money because of state changes in billing that kept her from getting paid, which meant she had no money to pay her workers.

Brown said after missing several payments to a loan company in New York, they froze her account and took liens on anything that came into it, and says she is broke.

The employees aren't buying it.

"Why she didn't come to us and let her workers know what was going on? Instead of disappearing, keeping our money and don't have nothing to say," said McClure.

Brown decided to come out as WREG spoke with the disgruntled employees and confront them herself.

"All you guys can sue Crittenden all day long. We are out of business," said Brown. "As far as ya'll getting paid, I don't have it. I am sorry. That's all I can say. I don't have it."

But her answers weren't what they wanted to hear.

"You took our money. You moving on with your life. We still got bills. We still behind on our bills and you don't care. You sit here laughing. That is not funny at all," said McClure.

Brown said she doesn't plan on paying them anytime in the future.

"I don't think so. I didn't get paid, therefore I am not liable to pay them," said Brown.

"How are your lights on in here if you don't have any money? Somebody paying your bills, but nobody is paying ours," said Carter.

It came to a head when someone inside the business called the police.

"We can't have a disturbance. Legally that's our biggest concern," said one of the West Memphis police officers.

Officers calmed the situation and said it was a civil matter that needed to be handled in court.

One employee had already taken care of that. Tierica Walton filed a police warrant against Brown.

"It's a warrant for her arrest," said Walton.

Brown says all the commotion doesn't change the fact that she is broke and can't pay them, and said she may not be inclined to anyway.

"Well right now I probably ain't. I probably am gonna go home and go to bed and let it ride," said Brown.

These workers say Brown is far from sympathetic and they are not done. They have thousands owed to them and they are determined to get what they worked for.

"We just want to be paid. That's all. We just want our money," said Carter.

We have contacted the Arkansas Department of Labor about options open to these workers.

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