July 16, 2008

Caregiver Charged in Theft of Credit Card From Resident of The Cypress

By Daniel Brownstein, The Island Packet, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Jul. 16--A former nursing home employee is accused of stealing the credit card of a woman on her death bed and using it to rack up about $7,000 in charges in January 2006, according to a Beaufort County sheriff's report released Tuesday.

The family of the 87-year-old woman, who died that same month from a series of ailments at The Cypress in Hilton Head Plantation, called police when they began receiving collection agency letters last fall.

Leonitra S. Brantley, 25, of Ridgeland, was arrested July 8 and charged with one count of financial transaction card fraud for using the credit card and two counts of forgery for attempting to write checks from the senior's account to pay off the debt, the report stated.

Detectives zeroed in on Brantley when they retrieved a series of $250 photographs taken at Glamour Shots in Oglethorpe Mall in Savannah. The photos were of a young black girl, the report stated. The victim was white.

Brantley conceded the pictures were of her daughter. She admitted to making purchases, including a stay at a Myrtle Beach resort, the report said.

When confronted with handwriting similarities between the checks and notes she made as part of her job, Brantley also admitted to forging the checks, the report stated.

Brantley was fired after the incident.

The victim was described as mentally alert at the time of the incident and would not have provided the credit card to her caregivers, the report stated.

Brantley had taken care of the woman and her husband for about a year.


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