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Press Release

Senior Living Center Employee Sentenced to Nearly Five Years in Prison for ID Theft and $335,000 Fraud Against Elderly Resident

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM -- A federal judge today sentenced a former Hoover senior living center employee to four years and nine months in prison for using the identity of a resident with dementia to steal more than $300,000 from the resident's bank and credit accounts, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Craig Caldwell.
 U.S. District Judge Abdul K. Kallon sentenced SHOSTOCKA KEYA WARD, 43, of Pleasant Grove, for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. In accordance with Ward's plea agreement with the government, the judge also ordered her to pay $335,214 in restitution to the power of attorney for her elderly victim and several financial institutions, and to forfeit the same amount to the government as proceeds of illegal activity. Ward pleaded guilty to the charges in May. She must report to prison Jan. 4.

 Between Oct. 11, 2011, and Feb. 13, 2014, Ward carried out a scheme to defraud eCO Credit Union of money in the victim’s account through various means and without the victim’s authorization. According to Ward's guilty plea, her fraud included, in part, writing more than $70,000 in unauthorized checks to herself  and using the victim's credit cards to charge thousands of dollars for expenses that included financing her own wedding, applying money to someone's prison account, making car and private school tuition payments, and taking trips to Las Vegas, Chicago, Tunica, Miss., and Gatlinburg, Tenn.
 According to court documents, Ward worked at Galleria Woods as a resident assistant or a transportation coordinator from about August 2010 to January 2014. In 2011, Ward became acquainted with the victim, a Galleria Woods resident who was 75 years old, had no immediate family, few visitors and an out-of-town family friend who served as her power of attorney, but was not actively involved in her daily care or the management of her daily finances.

 Ward began assisting the victim with transportation, errands, bill payments and other financial issues, and gained access to the victim’s purse, mail, financial statements, checkbook, and debit and credit cards. Ward maintained her relationship with the victim during her employment at Galleria Woods as the victim’s mental and physical condition declined and she became incapable of managing her financial affairs, according to Ward's plea.

 U.S. Secret Service investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Erica Williamson Barnes prosecuted.

Updated September 17, 2015

Health Care Fraud