|NEWARK – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced that the State Board of Nursing (the “Board”) has temporarily suspended the certification of a Burlington County homemaker-home health aide arrested on theft charges after a hidden video camera allegedly caught her stealing money and prescription medication from an elderly woman in her care.
Leanne R. Tucker, 41, of Williamstown, is charged with theft of cash and theft of a controlled dangerous substance for allegedly stealing $80 and an unknown number of prescription pills while providing in-home care to the 81-year-old woman. Evesham Township Police arrested Tucker on May 6 after video surveillance footage allegedly showed the aide stealing the items a day earlier.
In an Interim Consent Order with the Board, Tucker agreed to the temporary suspension of her Certified Homemaker-Home Health Aide (“CHHA”) certification pending the resolution of the criminal charges against her, at which time additional disciplinary action may be taken.
“Instead of watching over the elderly woman entrusted to her care, this aide allegedly spent her time casing the home in search of items to steal,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Unfortunately for her, cameras don’t lie, and now she will face the consequences of her alleged crimes.”
“No family should have to worry that a loved one will be victimized by the very person responsible for their care,” said Steve Lee, Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “The Board will continue to protect New Jersey families by enforcing the professional standards set for Certified Homemaker-Home Health Aides and taking swift action against aides who fail to live up to those standards.”
Tucker, an employee of the Right at Home health care service firm, began providing in-home care to the elderly Evesham resident in March. The woman’s family purchased and installed the hidden video camera in her home after weeks of noticing various amounts of money missing from her wallet.
The camera installed by the woman's family is similar to the micro-surveillance technology used in New Jersey’s “Safe Care Cam” program, which makes hidden cameras available for free 30-day loans to families who suspect a loved one is being abused, neglected, or otherwise victimized by a health care provider at home or in a residential facility.
Individuals who wish to participate in the Safe Care Cam program can call 973-504-6375 and leave a message in a voice mailbox that is monitored by Division of Consumer Affairs staff. Or they can call the Division’s toll-free line 800-242-5846 and follow voice prompts to leave a message. For more information on the Safe Care Cam program go to www.safecarecam.com.
Investigators with the Enforcement Bureau within the Division of Consumer Affairs conducted the investigation.
Deputy Attorney General Wendy Leggett Faulk, of the Consumer Affairs Counseling Section of the Division of Law, represented the State in this matter.
Patients who believe that they have been treated by a licensed health care professional in an inappropriate manner can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or (973) 504- 6200.
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