Crime Trackers: Caregiver accused of stealing more than $100K from clients
TUCSON - It's a crime involving our most vulnerable population: the elderly.
Pima County Sheriff’s detectives said 51-year-old Cynthia Ortiz is accused of stealing her clients' money and identities.
They said she was hired as a caregiver, and also to help manage their finances.
Instead, detectives said she may have stolen more than $100,000 from multiple victims.
On Thursday, she was booked into the Pima County Jail.
The Fraud Unit charged Ortiz with theft over $25,000, aggravated identity theft and computer tampering.
The investigation spanned more than a year. Deputy Cody Gress, who is a spokesman for PCSD, told News 4 Tucson, “Our initial victim came forward claiming that Miss Ortiz, who was a caregiver at the time for a number of years, was possibly accessing their bank accounts and financial accounts.”
According to the court documents obtained by News 4 Tucson, the Sheriff's Dept. served two search warrants. One in 2016 when she was arrested on an unrelated matter.
Gress said, “The results of that search warrant revealed multiple evidentiary items which led us to multiple victims.”
On Thursday, the Fraud Unit served another search warrant at Ortiz's Northwest Side apartment.
Detectives seized items including, financial documents, a stock purchase plan, and passwords.
According to a court document, "Ortiz has continued her activity."
She's suspected of committing theft, fraud, identity theft, and forgery.
Gress said, “The evidence that we were able to collect pointed to was that Miss Ortiz was violating the trust placed to her by multiple victims entrusting her with their financial documents and their health.”
Some of the victims included people with dementia, and detectives said that one victim "happens to be a relative by marriage” who is a disabled veteran. Detectives said Ortiz was paying her bills with her victim's money,
They added, “ All cases are important, but when you're dealing with the elderly and the disabled, it raises the stakes and it places a little bit more pressure on us to make sure we get things right and stop people from taking advantage of people in these situations.”
Ortiz was booked into the jail and a judge released her the same day on her own recognizance.
However, detectives told News 4 Tucson she may be back. They are working with the Attorney General's Office and there may be additional charges and more victims.
Detectives told News 4 Tucson to avoid becoming a victim hire a caregiver from a licensed agency and regularly check your financial statements.
If you suspect something contact law enforcement.
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