On Sept. 13, Polk County Sheriff’s Office fraud detectives arrested Cathy L. McClain, 41, 605 Sunway Lane, Winter Haven, and charged her with identifyt theft of over 30 victims.
McClain, a licensed practical nurse at the Brandywyne Healthcare Center, 1801 N. Lake Mariam Drive, Winter Haven, where she was employed at the time of her arrest, was also charged with grand theft and scheme to defraud.
As an employee at the facility, McClain had access to patient records. She collected patient’s names, birth dates, and social security numbers and in turn supplied that information via text message to Derail Bess, 30, 642 Brookshire Drive, Davenport. Bess, who was arrested Aug. 16, would then take the names and personal information and would convert the information into funds on “Turbo Tax” debit cards.
“McClain used her employment as a means to commit these crimes,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “She not only took advantage of her defenseless elderly victims at the healthcare facility, she, and her accomplice Bess, victimized you and me by converting stolen identity into cash through Turbo Tax returns. This resulted in thousands of our tax dollars being stolen.”
At the time of Bess’ arrest, he had in his possession the records for 83 patients at the facility. Bess would have the Turbo Tax refunds sent to other addresses in an attempt to hide his criminal activity. In addition, Bess had obtained credit and debit cards in the names of 16 patients. Those credit cards had been used to purchase money orders and Wal-Mart credit cards.
Evidence indicates that McClain was given at least $1,000 by Bess for providing the personal information of patients. Detectives made contact with a number of current patients victimized by this Identity Theft operation. Many of the elderly patients have other people as their “Power of Attorney” and detectives will continue attempts to work with those individuals as well.
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