EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 24, 2012

Home aide charged with bilking couple $4,200

By Steven Fletcher Staff Writer
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — GLOUCESTER — A Methuen woman who had worked in Gloucester as a home health aide was arrested yesterday and charged with stealing roughly $4,200 over the past year from an elderly local couple who had employed her as a full-time caregiver.

The woman, Glendalis Rodriguez, 25, of 8 Kernwood Ave., Methuen, was arraigned in Gloucester District Court Tuesday afternoon. She faces charges of identity fraud, larceny by false pretense, larceny from a person over the age of 60, two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, and two counts of larceny over $250.

According to the arrest report, Rodriguez took out a credit card under the name of the woman in her care, and stole the woman’s Exxon Mobil gas card. Police arrested her on a warrant Tuesday after she had failed to appear in Gloucester District Court on the charges on Monday.

Rodriguez is scheduled for a pretrial conference in court in December, and is being represented by Gloucester Attorney Thomas O’Shea.

The arrest follows a two-month investigation by Gloucester Detective Thomas Quinn.

According to his report, the victims’ daughter filed a report with police saying that Rodriguez worked as a caretaker for her elderly parents, though she had been dismissed from providing care for them in June.

After Rodriguez left, the woman told police, she found that Rodriguez had opened an account with Capital One in her mother’s name in addition to taking the other’s gas card. She left a $971 balance on the gas card and a $3,259 balance on the credit card, according to the police report.

On Sept. 16, the alleged victims’ daughter came back and talked with Quinn. She said her parents, both in their 80s, contracted with Bright Star, a national home-health care company with local offices in Danvers, Hamilton, Milton and Newburyport, to provide round-the-clock care at their home on Wingaersheek Road. Her father, the woman said, had a terminal illness and her mother suffered from dementia.

Bright Star sent Rodriguez to the home in September 2011.

As part of her job, the couple gave Rodriguez the use of a gas card and the family car. The card, Quinn’s report states, was only to be used while providing care for the couple. The car was to be used while she was working, then left at the home. Both her mother and father had gas cards. The father’s gas card was the one she was allowed to use, but Quinn’s report notes that Rodriguez also allegedly took the mother’s gas card and began charging to it.

In November, 2011, the victims’ daughter said she paid the bill for the gas account. But from November to May of 2012, she didn’t receive a bill for the card. She paid $100 in January assuming the bills were misplaced, but when she called Exxon Mobil in the following months, she was told that a $1,200 balance was left on the account, with several of the charges made in North Andover, Methuen, and Tewksbury.

In July, a month after the victims’ daughter fired Rodriguez, she found the Capital One balance in a bill addressed to her mother. The card, she said, was opened by Rodriguez when she worked for the family. Quinn found that Rodriguez applied for the card using the mother’s personal information. Then, his report states, she had herself added on as an authorized user.

Quinn called Rodriguez on the number that the woman gave him, and was passed on to Rodriguez, according to the report. When he reached her, she said the gas card was taken care of, but he told her there were other unresolved issues they needed to talk about.

Rodriguez told Quinn she would come by on the following Monday, but never showed. It was then that Quinn sought criminal complaints.