Home Health Aide Charged with Defrauding Clients
Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Christopher Algieri, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Veteran Affairs, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Field Office, today announced that PHILLIANN BARNETT, 42, a Jamaican citizen residing in New Britain, was arrested on March 2 on a criminal complaint charging her with bank fraud stemming from her alleged theft of money from a disabled client for whom she worked as a home health aide.
As alleged in the criminal complaint, in 2003, Barnett sustained a federal conviction, in the Eastern District of New York, for defrauding an individual who suffered from cerebral palsy. In that case, she opened credit cards in the victim’s name and used the cards for her personal expenses. She was subsequently convicted in Connecticut superior court of larceny and identity theft offenses for defrauding an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. On approximately August 31, 2020, after serving approximately five years of incarceration, Barnett was released from state custody. Shortly after her release from prison, and while she was on probation, Barnett, using the alias “Philliann Burke,” applied to be a home health aide for a company that serviced disabled veterans receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Barnett, who did not disclose her criminal history to the company, began working for the company on September 11, 2020.
It is further alleged that, in November 2020, while caring for a disabled veteran, Barnett forged the veteran’s signature on a check and deposited the check into her account. In February 2021, law enforcement investigating Barnett learned of a separate complaint from a resident of an assisted living facility in the Waterbury area where Barnett purportedly worked. The complainant alleged that Barnett stole money from the complainant’s checking account and deposited it into her own account using the “Cash App” cell phone application.
After her arrest, Barnett was released on a $75,000 bond into home incarceration. She is subject to GPS monitoring and was ordered to surrender her passport. She was also ordered to comply with her state probation conditions, which include a prohibition from working as a home health aide.
Bank fraud carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years.
Acting U.S. Attorney Boyle stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret M. Donovan.
It is alleged that Barnett has a history of using other aliases, including “Phillianne Barnett,” “Susie Barnett,” “Nikki Daley,” and “Susie Susie.” Individuals who believe they have been victimized by Barnett are encouraged to contact Special Agent Abraham Raymond with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General, at 781-687-3417.