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home : news : greenwood August 20, 2014

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5/28/2014 8:31:00 AM
Nurse accused of stealing from patient
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An in-home nurse was arrested over the weekend after investigators say she stole thousands of dollars from her patient.

Georgiana Gatchell Ballenger, 39, of 128 Limerick Rd., was arrested and charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent  greater than $10,000, crimes against a federally chartered financial institution and financial transaction card fraud in connection with the incident.

According to a report from the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office, Ballenger was hired to work as home health nurse through Assisting Angels beginning in 2013. Family members of the 72-year-old victim contacted law enforcement officials in February after noticing unusual purchases totaling more than $14,000 from the victim’s bank account. The family member told investigators she also noticed an abnormally high balance on the victim’s home equity line of credit.

According to the report, investigators subpoenaed the victim’s bank records. Investigators discovered Ballenger used more than $10,000 of the victim’s money from the victim’s checking account for unauthorized personal purchases. Records also showed that Ballenger obtained a credit card against the home equity line of credit without the victim’s consent and ran up nearly $11,500 in charges. Additionally, records showed Ballenger used the victim’s debit card without the victim’s consent to make nearly $1,500 in unauthorized purchases.

Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, May 30, 2014
Article comment by: Herman Daniel

Let justice prevail in this case, too!

Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014
Article comment by: Herman Daniel

I surely hope the victim gets her money back.

Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014
Article comment by: Merriett Daniel

The shame of it all...the nerve of some people

Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014
Article comment by: Carmen Davis

Assisting Angels hopes this article brings awareness to the public of a growing issue. Home health aides are welcomed into the homes of the most vulnerable in our society. It is essential that they not use their position of trust to victimize those in their care as was done in this case. Ms. Ballenger must receive a lengthy prison sentence both as punishment and to serve as a warning to those who would target the weak or the elderly.
One correction is that Mrs. Ballenger is NOT a nurse she is a Certified Nursing Assistant. In addition, Assisting Angels has a strict policy against employees handling client finances. Both the client's family and the caregiver must acknowledge this policy before services are started. Assisting Angel's employees are not authorized to accept, have custody of, or have the use of cash, credit or debit cards, bankcards, checks, or other valuables belonging to the client.
Itís important for family members to be vigilant, because your loved one may be vulnerable and unable to spot fraud theft or questionable behavior. It is recommended that a family member receive duplicate bank statements and credit card bills ó or better yet, has online access to their loved oneís accounts so financial transactions can be monitored. They should look for unusual spending: a bank account that is suddenly bleeding cash, checks made out for cash, or unusual credit card transactions.
This situation was identified only after Assisting Angels contacted the client's family about past due invoices due to Assisting Angels for the cost of homecare services.
Fortunately, incidents like this one involving Mrs. Ballenger, are rare when dealing with established agencies óbut they do happen. Each Assisting Angel's caregiver must have a national criminal background check ran on them, a minimum of 3 employment references checked and they are also required to pass a drug screen.
In order to file a successful claim for reimbursement with our insurer, Assisting Angels had to instruct the client's family to report the theft to the police. Upon, being notified of the theft, Assisting Angels immediately terminated Mrs. Ballenger.
In an effort to further to scrutinize caregivers and CNAs who perform home-care, Assisting Angels has implemented the Caregiver Quality Assurance program to allow us to look closer at the personality and behaviors of the caregivers we select. The Caregiver Quality Assurance program is designed to identify home care companies that go above and beyond the basic requirements when selecting quality caregivers. Home care companies using Leading Home Care's Caregiver Selection System are using the latest technology to provide peace of mind that the person caring for your loved one is honest, dependable, and understands the importance of their role as a caregiver. See for more information.
Home-care aide employment is expected to balloon by 70% between 2010 and 2020. The industry currently employs about 1.2 million people providing services to an estimated 8.6 million Americans per year, according to data from the Joint Commission and the Labor Department.
Homecare owners everywhere struggle with unfortunate situations such as this one. That is the reason for our policy not allowing caregivers to accept any responsibility for a client's finances.

Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014
Article comment by: Wanda Hughes

I'm so glad the family has pressed charges against her. I sincerely hope that she will not be allowed to be anyone's nurse ever again. Just to be on the safe side, I am sharing this info with everyone I know.

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