Woman opens multiple fraud accounts in disabled grandmother's name
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A woman was arrested after opening multiple fraudulent accounts and applying for credit cards using her disabled grandmother's information.
Katherine Burkes, 40, was arrested by the Leon County Sheriff's Office on April 19.
The victim is an 83-year-old woman who can't drive due to numbness in her feet and legs, has difficulty walking, and has high blood pressure along with diabetes.
On Jan. 17, deputies were contacted about a possible fraud by the victim's relative.
The relative told deputies the victim believes her granddaughter, Burkes, is the one who applied for the different credit cards with her information.
The relative said Burkes lived with the victim from August to late October and had access to the victim's information.
According to the relative, Burkes has used the victim's information in the past to add her apartment to the victim's City of Tallahassee Utilities account.
The police report states Burkes created two fraudulent accounts with Comenity Bank, Wayfair, Victoria's Secret, Synchrony Bank, PayPal, and TJ Maxx.
The two fraudulent accounts from Synchrony Bank resulted in a loss of over $2,000.
She also opened up Comcast, Verizon, Groupon, and Netflix accounts with the victim's credit card information.
The police report indicates that she paid rent with the victim's stolen credit cards as well.
On March 6, deputies interviewed the victim at her home.
The victim said Burkes knows about her health condition, but stated "she just doesn't think about it I guess, I don't know it's been a real shock for me, but I'm tough, so I'll get over it."
When deputies asked if Burkes had permission to open these credit cards, the victim said "absolutely not."
The victim told officers she was unaware of these accounts being opened in her name until she started receiving bills.
She indicated Burkes needed help getting an apartment in Tallahassee, so she helped Burkes in getting one.
The victim stated Burkes only lived in the apartment for a month and a half, then left town in the middle of the night.
The victim was listed on the apartment as a guarantor for Burkes and has been billed over $3,000 from the apartment complex.
She said she realizes the apartment is a separate issue because she allowed herself to be a guarantor.
On March 27 and 28, deputies were unsuccessful in reaching Burkes by phone.
Based on the evidence, Burkes has been charged with 12 different counts of fraud, one count of exploiting an elderly person for less than $20,000 and one count of larceny from someone 65 years of age or older.
She was transported to the Leon County Detention Center.
Her bond has been set at $10,000.
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