Home Health Care Worker Accused Of Stealing From Quadriplegic, Other At Risk Victims
DENVER (CBS4) – A former home health care aide who worked for a company founded by a Denver Broncos player has been charged with felony theft and will likely be charged in multiple cases after police accused her of stealing from multiple vulnerable clients.
CBS4 has learned that Allicia Baldwin, 22, was charged last month with felony theft, theft from an at risk victim and illegally selling items to a pawnbroker. The charges stem from her stints working in people’s homes as a health care aide.
Baldwin has not returned calls and messages from CBS4.
“I thought she was lovely, charming. I didn’t suspect her,” said one Denver woman who paid Harris Home Health to provide an in-home aide for her 59-year-old husband, who is a quadriplegic. Harris Home Health was founded in 2010 and is run by Ryan Harris, a former offensive lineman for the Denver Broncos who is now on the roster of the Houston Texans.
The Denver woman says she believes Baldwin stole two iPads, a laptop computer, jewelery and a credit card that she then used to pay her personal bills.
“She’s got nerve,” said the woman.
According to a police affidavit, authorities now believe Baldwin also stole from at-risk clients in Thornton, Parker and Castle Rock. They believe she pawned stolen items at a Denver pawn shop. Police have already recovered some jewelry from the pawn shop and returned it to victims.
Joey Domingue used Harris Home Health this spring to provide an aide to help his 73-year-old mother Thelma. The company sent Allicia Baldwin, who Domingue says promptly stole a laptop, a ring, necklace and earrings valued at $2,500.
“You pay someone to come into your home and they do this,” said Domingue.
“I wouldn’t have her back over here, I’d probably wring her neck,” Thelma Domingue said.
Joey Domingue says he is especially angry because he immediately reported what happened to Harris Home Health. But he says they continued to send Baldwin into other clients’ homes, where he believes she stole more items.
“I was the first of three others,” said Domingue. “I called as soon as I noticed the items. I called the company right away.”
Harris Home health was founded by Ryan Harris, who said he began the business after taking care of his ailing grandmother.
“I wanted to do something that mattered,” Harris told the Denver Post.
Harris’ Denver Broncos jersey still hangs in the company office. Harris and his company declined to speak on camera but issued a statement to CBS4 saying, “Harris Home Health is aware of four allegations of theft from our clients, all involving the same employee. The employee accused of the thefts passed a background check. We have cooperated with the police investigations and conducted our own internal investigation. The employee accused of the thefts is no longer employed by Harris Home Health.”
A court database shows that in 2006 and again in 2009, Allicia Baldwin pleaded guilty to underage possession and consumption of alcohol.
“I would say those are red flags,” said the Denver woman whose husband is a quadriplegic.
While Baldwin did not comment directly to CBS4 about the court case or accusations, on her Facebook page she recounted being recently jailed.
“I’m just happy .. I finally got out.. in jail for the past week.. I pawned something I shouldn’t have.. horrible experience,” she posted.
Rose Zapor, a Lakewood attorney who specializes in cases of elder abuse, called it “despicable” that a home health care aide would steal from a quadriplegic.
“They start thinking of these home health care workers as family and best friends. These people are not their best friends,” said Zapor. “They are not their confidants, they are their employees and they need to be treated like employees.”
Zapor said the elderly depend heavily on home health care aides who can occasionally be unscrupulous.
“Some of them … are just doing this as a second job, or are doing it to gain access to the homes of the elderly and disabled so they can steal,” she said.
Zapor provided the following advice to families bringing health care aides into their homes:
– Protect personal information.
– Treat a home health care aide as you would a stranger and do not leave valuables in the open.
– Use luggage and suitcases to lock away jewelery or use a safe deposit box or home safe for valuables.
– Make sure the home health agency you use is licensed, bonded and insured.
– Ask if the company has conducted a background check on their workers.
– Ask if the agency does drug testing on its health care aides.
– Family members should check in on their elderly or disabled family members every day, or at least once a week.
– Do not ask your home health care worker to help you fill out a check.
– Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com