It’s one of the biggest fears and concerns among elderly and disabled men and women who need support and care at home: being victimized by crime. While home care agencies across the country are taking a more active and vested role in screening backgrounds for potential home care aides and other workers, that doesn’t apply to all agencies.
One particular agency in North Carolina is another reminder of the growing importance of knowing who is being hired, what their background is, and whether they can be trusted. Home Helpers of Greensboro had hired Sabrina Rena Davis and assigned her to work with Wanda Harris, a 90-year-old woman who was recovering from a stroke and still struggling to take care of her husband, as well.
At some point in time, Ms. Harris provided her ATM card to Sabrina Davis to get cash so she could pay for lawn care, but the withdrawals didn’t stop there; Ms. Davis allegedly stole $30,000 from the couple, effectively wiping out the remainder of their retirement money.
According to the News & Record, in the article, Lawsuit: $30,000 swiped by home health care worker, written by Nancy McLaughlin out of Greensboro, North Carolina:
“Now the couple’s $30,000 in retirement savings is missing and arrest warrants have been issued for the 30-year-old Davis, charging her with exploitation of an older adult, obtaining property by false pretenses, unlawful accessing of computers and financial transaction card crime.
Investigators found 93 ATM withdrawals of between $100 and $800 each, and two $1,000 debit card purchases from the account from a four-month period ending in November.
“I’m surprised somebody would do this to somebody this vulnerable,” said Guilford County Sheriff’s Detective T. Lee.
But he’s chased fraud enough to know that it does happen.”
Initially, Home Helpers of Greensboro directed the couple to contact their insurer for reimbursement, but eventually refunded the money directly after a news investigation was started. Sabrina Davis has a slight criminal record, and some believe this should have disqualified her from serving in a position of trust, as home care is.
Authorities have not yet been able to locate Ms. Davis, though an arrest warrant has been issued. There’s been no public note about evidence linking Ms. Davis to the thefts, however, one person commenting on an article via Facebook noted that this isn’t the first time the agency has hired a person with a criminal record. It’s unclear was recourse the agency is taking to recover the money refunded to the couple.
Addedum: Message from Cheryl Hammons, CFE, CSA