Houston police searching for health care worker accused of stealing more than $70K from elderly couple

Texas

Photo courtesy of KPRC.com

HOUSTON (KETK) – A Houston-based health care worker who was accused of stealing from her elderly patients has two felony warrants out for her arrest.

30-year-old Brittany Nicole Kelly, is a wanted woman, according to our NBC affiliate KPRC.com. Kelly has also had a criminal history spanning several years for misdemeanor thefts.

In July, Kelly was charged in Harris County with two felony thefts for fraudulent use of identifying information of the elderly and warrants were issued for her arrest.

Kelly was accused of stealing the identity of an elderly Houston couple while working in their home as a caretaker for Right At Home In-Home Care & Assistance.

The timeline of the alleged crimes spanned a year from June 2019 to June 2020.

The CEO of Crime Stoppers of Houston, Rania Mankarious, said Texas has very strict laws requiring healthcare workers to undergo background checks, but there are loopholes.

“The state of Texas has actually taken measures to ensure that people with criminal records and arrest records don’t end up working in these types of positions,” Mankarious told KPRC. “But, ultimately, people still take it upon themselves to find their own person to come into their home and take care of an aging person or maybe deal with agencies that aren’t really following the law, and that’s where you end up with this gray space.”

According to court documents KPRC obtained, the 86-year-old victim said when he checked his financial transactions, he noticed checks were forged in his name and that money had been withdrawn from his bank accounts and that credit cards were opened in his deceased wife’s name.

More than $70,933.50 was stolen from the couple. Of that amount, $8,880 was used to pay Kelly’s rent and $374.54 was charged on a credit card to purchase hair extensions, according to court documents.

The elderly man said that he never gave Kelly consent and believe she took up to 11 identifying information from him and his wife because she had access to their home and could easily obtain their personal information, checks and credit cards.

Mankarious said to KPRC that families can protect their elderly loved ones from these types of violations by keeping banking information out of the reach of caregivers, have insurance cards on file with their doctor’s office instead, ensure healthcare agencies are accredited, and be aggressive by asking questions.

“They should be aggressive in making sure that your loved ones are safe,” she said. “And I think a lot of us assume that’s already going to be handled and we don’t ask. You gotta be aggressive and ask.”

KPRC 2 reached out to Right At Home In-Home Care & Assistance for comment but had not heard back as of Monday night.

Kelly remains on the run. Crime Stoppers of Houston is offering a reward leading up to her arrest.

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