St. Joseph In-home Health Care Worker Indicted for $207,000 Fraud Scheme
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Timothy A. Garrison, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that additional charges have been filed against a St. Joseph, Mo., in-home health care nursing assistant for stealing bank account information from one of her clients to illegally transfer more than $207,000 out of her account.
Ashley N. Garr, 33, of St. Joseph, was charged in a 14-count superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo. Today’s indictment replaces the original indictment returned on Dec. 5, 2017.
Garr is charged with eight counts of wire fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft and three counts of filing false tax returns.
Today’s indictment alleges that Garr, through her work as a home health care aid, became friendly with a woman identified as “PLR.” Garr visited the home of PLR in the fall of 2016, the indictment says, and stole checks and checking account information from her. Garr allegedly used the stolen checking account information to pay her personal expenses directly from PLR’s checking account.
Among the various payments, Garr allegedly directed payments on her behalf to the IRS and two student loan accounts. Additionally, Garr allegedly used the checking account information to open and pay credit card accounts. According to the indictment, Garr fraudulently transferred at least $207,638 from the checking account of PLR.
Two of the wire fraud counts relate to a scheme in which Garr allegedly stole personal information from persons she was assisting as a home health care aide. Garr used the stolen information to prepare two false and fraudulent tax returns in 2016, the indictment says, claiming refunds totaling $20,831.
The false tax returns allegedly involved Garr’s personal income tax returns filed in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The indictment alleges that Garr inflated her income in returns filed in 2015 and 2016. Garr claimed $61,725 in wages during 2014, the indictment says, and federal withholding of $30,851. Garr claimed $89,206 in wages in 2015, the indictment says, and federal withholding of $44,593. Garr allegedly failed to report her gross income of approximately $212,892 and reported a gross income of only $26,208 for 2016.
Today’s indictment also contains a forfeiture allegations, which would require Garr to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses, including $207,638.
Garrison cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation.