TENAFLY, N.J. – Tenafly police charged a home health aide and an accomplice with stealing $5,000 from a patient.
Ruth J. Richardson, 28, swiped the checks from a Greentree Terrace resident in November, then gave them to Jaheem Pickens, a 30-year-old probationer, Capt. Michael deMoncada said.
Pickens then “fraudulently issued and deposited the checks in the amounts of $2,000 and $3,000 at separate banks in Haledon and Prospect Park,” deMoncada said.
Detective Michael Vecchiarelli worked the case – and found that the Paterson pair had victimized other patients in Bergen County, the captain said.
Pickens -- whose criminal record includes arrests in Fair Lawn, Garfield and South Hackensack -- was charged with forgery, receiving stolen property and theft. He was ordered held in the Passaic County Jail, but was later released by a judge under New Jersey’s 2017 Bail Reform & Speedy Trial Act.
Richardson turned herself in earlier this month and was charged with theft, deMoncada said. She was processed and released pending a court hearing, he said.
The captain, meanwhile, warned citizens to “be vigilant and carefully review all credit card and bank statements regularly to identify any potentially fraudulent activity.
“If you identify suspicious activity, contact your bank to verify the fraudulent transactions and notify your local police department to investigate,” he said.
Checks and credit cards “should always be kept in a secure location and never left unattended when unfamiliar caretakers or contractors are in your home," deMoncada added.
“These basic rules are even more important if you are caring for an elderly or at-risk relative,” the captain said. “These groups are unscrupulously targeted by scam artists.”
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