New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that Channel Francis had been indicted for five felonies relating to allegations that she assumed the identities of three nursing home patients and illegally used their credit cards.
Schneiderman charges that Francis obtained the information from residents of the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation in Queens, New York around September 2013. According to Schneiderman, Francis then added herself as an authorized user on credit cards that were owned by the residents and proceeded to purchase iPads, computers, televisions, and designer purses on the three victims’ credit cards – spending between $3,000 and $4,700 on each of the resident’s credit cards. After being tipped off by the victim’ relatives of the unauthorized charges, the New York City Police Department opened an investigation into the matter.
As evidence of Francis’ charges, the NYPD have video surveillance of Francis making purchases at multiple stores around the same time that the credit cards reflect unauthorized purchases. In addition, several of items that were purchased were shipped to Francis’ home, and Francis used her personal email account, which included her name, to make several purchases on the victims’ credit cards. Attorney General Schneiderman states that Francis received the personal information of the nursing home residents from an employee who worked at the nursing home.
Francis pled not guilty to all charges when she was arraigned in New York State Supreme Court. If Francis were to be convicted of these crimes, she could face up to twenty-one years in prison.
The case was part of a larger sting on perpetrators of nursing home abuse back in October 2016 where, in addition to Francis, five other arrests were made. All were alleged to have exploited elderly residents of nursing homes for their personal financial gain. None of the cases were related.
Noting the prevalence of nursing home abuse and the particular cruelty of attacking society’s elderly, Attorney General Schneiderman states, “It is unconscionable for someone to exploit vulnerable and elderly nursing home residents for personal financial gain.”