GALVESTON

A home health aide is accused of stealing $40,000 from an island woman she had been hired to care for in 2014, prosecutors said.

Cheryl Ward, 57, of Webster, was arrested July 3 and charged with theft of property between $20,000 and $100,000, and exploitation of an elderly person, according to Galveston County Court records.

The charges stem from two felony indictments a Galveston County Grand Jury brought against Ward in April, according to the Galveston County District Attorney’s office.

Ward was a hired in 2014 to be a home health aide for an 82-year-old woman who lives in Galveston, said Austin Fletcher, an assistant district attorney in the major fraud division.

She’s accused of taking money and using the woman’s credit card to make purchases, Fletcher said. Ward is accused of spending or otherwise stealing about $40,000, Fletcher said.

The woman didn’t file a complaint until 2018, Fletcher said.

Ward worked independently and not through an agency, Fletcher said.

Ward was indicted in April, but was not arrested until July because law enforcement officers had to find her, Fletcher said.

It’s not unusual that it took five years for a complaint to be filed, Fletcher said.

“A lot of people that are older tend to be embarrassed that this happened to them,” Fletcher said. “Sometimes it takes the victims’ kids, brothers or sisters or relatives to bring this case forward. That sometimes happens because the person’s embarrassed or they just don’t catch it.”

Ward had been held on $80,000 in bonds and was released from jail July 3, according to court documents.

Both charges against Ward are third-degree felonies and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

No court dates have been set for Ward as of Tuesday, according to court documents.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

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(1) comment

Walter Manuel

I've been working in home health for the past 26 years and it's unfortunate that some people will paint other health care providers with the same broad brush by assuming that most people can't be trusted in their homes. It's unfortunate that this happened to this elderly woman, but it's certainly a reminder for senior citizens to never get so comfortable with their caregiver that they fall victim to a thief. Even though this woman worked independently for herself, she gives a bad name for those agencies who do a really good job taking care of the elderly and disabled in our community. If convicted, I hope that they throw the book at this woman and give her plenty of time in jail or prison to think about exactly what she did to her victim and how it will probably impact the rest of her life.

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