Brown's Elder Abuse Bureau Seeks Other Victims of Home Health Care Worker Who Stole Thousands from Elderly Client

Friday, July 23, 2010
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced that his office is seeking additional victims of a former home health care worker, Antoinette Thomas, 31, of Los Angeles County, who has been charged with “stealing more than $7,000” over a period of two weeks from an elderly woman in her care.

“In just a few days, Thomas stole more than $7,000 from her elderly client, racking up huge credit card bills and forging personal checks,” Brown said. “Other elders who have been exploited by this woman should step forward so she can be held fully accountable.”

Thomas is being held at Lynwood Jail, and bail has been set at $100,000. Thomas faces one count each of grand theft, theft from elder or dependent adult by a caretaker, identity theft, forgery, and second-degree commercial burglary. She also faces an unrelated drug charge. If convicted of the theft charges, Thomas faces up to five years in prison.

In December 2009, agents from Brown’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse received a complaint against Thomas, who was a former employee of Homewatch CareGivers.

Brown’s office began an investigation and learned that, in the two weeks that Thomas worked for the 87-year-old victim, she had stolen cash and credit cards that she used to purchase home furnishings, gas, clothing and cosmetics. She used one of the victim’s credit cards on a $3,400 shopping spree in a furniture store and another to pay the charges on her cell phone. Thomas wrote a check to herself and forged her client’s signature. In total, Thomas stole more than $7,000. Investigators believe there are other victims.

Brown’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse protects patients from physical and financial abuse and neglect in homecare, as well as in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The bureau also investigates and prosecutes nursing home operators and health care providers who cheat taxpayers out of millions of dollars each year, diverting scarce health care resources from the needy.

Last year, Brown’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse secured convictions in 49 criminal cases of elder abuse with penalties, fines and restitution orders totaling nearly $500,000 in these cases.

To report information about Thomas or to report another case of elder abuse, contact the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse toll-free hotline at 1-800-722-0432 or visit: http//ag.ca.gov/bmfea/reporting.php.

A copy of the Thomas complaint, filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court, is attached. The Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse will prosecute the case against Thomas.

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