KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kenneth Neal was confined to a wheelchair and barely able to stand when he came to Ron Paguyo's adult foster home last November.
"Within a month's time with me doing therapy with him every day, we got him walking by Christmas," Paguyo said.
Neal signed an agreement with Ohana Case Management to pay Paguyo about $1,300 a month for room and board. But in February he chose to leave the Kalihi home and left an unpaid bill.
"He owes me $5,329," Paguyo said.
Paguyo said Neal disappeared. He said for months calls to Neal's cell phone and his wife, Lannette, went unreturned. He couldn't find them at the home address listed on their application. Paguyo filed a police report, saying Neal defrauded him out of the money.
"We depend on that money to keep my business alive," he said.
State Rep. John Mizuno fears Hawaii's aging population puts other adult foster care operators at risk.
"We're graying faster than any state in the nation," he said. "We're concerned that we'll see more cases of financial fraud in the future."
Mizuno thinks a safeguard would be requiring clients sign promissory notes. If they default, Social Security would pay care home operators directly.
Paguyo said he did receive one payment from Neal. Last month he got a money order for $250.
"That's four months that I put out my own money to feed him, to house him. I'm very frustrated," he said.
Paguyo said state agencies have been slow to respond to his complaint.
"This is part of Adult Protective Services. They are supposed to be looking into this also," he said.
Paguyo said he's cared for about 18 people over the five years his adult foster home has been open, and this is the first time a client hasn't paid in full.
Ohana Case Management said it's also trying to reach Neal.
After many attempts, Hawaii News Now finally got through to Lannette Neal. She said they want to pay the bill but their situation is "complicated."