Two Vero Beach women, and former CNA's are in jail for stealing more than $500,000 from elderly people they cared for in Indian River Shores.
"Here locally, this is probably one of this biggest ones that we've seen. That's a lot of money," said Indian River Shores Police Officer Albert Iovino.
Chiquita McGee and Sophia Shephard (AKA Sophia Brown) were arrested Tuesday on charges for exploitation of the elderly, organized fraud and scheme to defraud a financial institution.
Indian River Shores police say the duo convinced two elderly patients to open credit cards under McGee and Shephard's name, linked to the victims' accounts, with an unlimited credit line.
Police said the pair purchased personal items, such as cosmetic dental work, plastic surgery, cruises, expensive jewelry, clothing, an engine for one of their cars, exotic car rental (a Rolls Royce Ghost for 5 days at $995.00 per day), hotels in various Florida cities, and they paid a fine out of St. Lucie County.
Police said the total amount for all fraud related to the case is at least $543,973. The pair also fraudulently obtained checks from the victims, police say.
The women were self-employed, and contracted by Indian River Home Care Plus, according to the home health care company's owner, Margot Kornicks, RN.
Kornicks released the following statement to WPTV:
Officer Iovino has advice for anyone needing home health care for a loved one.
"You have to advocate for your loved ones. Follow up with these people. Find out as much as you can about the home health agency that's providing the care. Spend the first 3 or 4 visits with the healthcare individual," Iovino said.
He also said you can talk to your loved one about obtaining power of attorney to help track your loved ones expenses, and credit accounts.
McGee and Shepherd are being held in jail without bond and have a court appearance Wednesday.
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