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Elderly Man’s Caretaker Charged With ID Theft

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ANTIOCH, Ill. (CBS) – A Zion woman has been charged with identity theft for allegedly using a credit card that belonged to an elderly man in her care.

Antioch Police Chief Craig Somerville said that police began investigating after the man’s family complained that someone was opening credit cards in his name.

Claire Johnson, 38, of 2701 Salem Blvd. in Zion was arrested on Monday after authorities found documents showing the unauthorized use of credit cards in the elderly man’s name, Antioch Police Chief Craig Somerville said.

She was charged with two counts of aggravated identity theft and unauthorized use of a credit card, he said. The charges were enhanced because the victim was elderly, which means stiffer penalties upon conviction.

Antioch detectives sifted through financial records, viewed various store surveillance videos, traced internet IP addresses and conducted interviews which led to Johnson’s arrest.

Johnson was employed by Addus Health Care of Gurnee as a caregiver to the victim and his wife, who suffers from serious medical conditions. Somerville said Addus Health Care cooperated fully with the investigation and forwarded the case findings to other law enforcement agencies in jurisdictions where Johnson may have worked.

“Due to the quick actions of the victim’s families, the credit card companies were contacted immediately and the victim’s accounts were flagged to prevent additional fraudulent acts,” Somerville said.

Fraudulent charges totaling more than $1,200 were made, and attempts to open additional accounts were discovered and prevented due to the account flagging.

Somerville said his department is very protective of its citizens, particularly seniors citizens. Citizens are encouraged to contact police immediately if they encounter suspicious activity on their financial statements or credit reports. Its important to notify police and financial institutions as soon as possible in such cases.

Identity theft is a Class 3 felony, punishable by two to five years in prison.

Johnsons’ bond was set at $2,500.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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