A woman trusted to help take care of elderly adults abused their trust. Oro Valley police said she stole from the most vulnerable population.
Kathryn Hess and four others were indicted on multiple charges, including theft, exploitation of a vulnerable adult, forgery and identity theft.
The Attorney General's Healthcare, Fraud, and Abuse section is prosecuting the case.They said they identified eight victims who were ripped off of more than $30,000.
“You are the lowest of the low when you prey on children and the elderly,” said one of the victims.
She asked we not identify her, but she is willing to go public with her story. She said she hopes her story will be able to help others.
She said Hess allegedly stole a large amount of cash from her wallet last month. She said she left her purse in her husband’s room. Her husband is recovering from a massive stroke. He was in a rehabilitation facility in Oro Valley.
“We were easy prey because she knew I would be outside," she said. "I took him out for walks in his wheel chair every day.”
The caregiver was apparently making rounds of her own when she was not taking care of the victim's husband. Oro Valley Police Det. Mike Cruse said the patient next door had her credit cards stolen.
“We determined it was the same caregiver,” said Cruse.
According to Cruse, she used the card at Walmart where she spent $817. She also allegedly spent $142 at Family Dollars. She then went to McDonald’s and charged $16.84 to the card.
The shopping spree came to an end when she attempted to use the card at a Circle K. It was declined.
The company she worked for was notified.
“They immediately fired her," said Cruse. "By that time, there were other victims. That same suspect had been in the home of others in the city of Tucson.”
Tucson police said Hess allegedly stole from three homes where she was a caregiver. She had associates, and they were also indicted.
The company she worked for also made an interesting discovery.
“They discovered she had lost her license to be a certified nursing assistant," said Cruse. "They didn't discover this until after was fired.”
The victim is shocked.
“You think if they're pushed that far to steal , they must need it terribly," she said. "Then I thought, no this isn't somebody in need. This is somebody with greed.”
News 4 Tucson searched further and found Kathryn Hess' certified nursing assistant's certificate was revoked in 2009. The court documents also listed the reasons why. It mentioned incidents that date back to 1999. They range from minor in possession of alcohol, to getting arrested numerous times for making threats/intimidation.
The report also mentioned she was terminated several times in various facilities for resident abuse.
Hess, along with 38-year-old Chevy Tennell Marchbank, 33-year-old Teresa M. Hess, 22-year-old Nicole Marian Risner, and 37-year-old Brittany Marie Crowther, will be arraigned on Christmas Eve.
Oro Valley police urge people to keep valuables locked, and make sure to check out the agency and the person hired thoroughly.