Nursing home accountant allegedly steals residents' rent money, over $50K

Published: Apr. 13, 2014 at 10:19 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A woman faces felony theft and forgery charges after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in rent money from residents living in a nursing home.

According to the probable cause report, 56-year-old Debra Morris Barrios of Ventress, La. was employed as an accountant at a nursing and rehabilitation facility for assisted living residents.

In 2013, a resident's family member advised the facility's administration in November that some checks, which were written for their relative's rent to the facility, had actually been made payable to Barrios and deposited into her personal account.

Barrios reportedly instructed the resident's family member to leave the payable section of the check blank because she would rubber stamp the check, titled with the name of the nursing home.

The report disclosed that afterwards, Barrios wrote her name on the check and deposited it into her personal bank account.

The report reveals that during questioning from administration, Barrios admitted that she had taken money from the resident because she had personal financial issues. She also claimed to use her own funds to keeps the resident's account current. Barrios was then suspended pending an audit.

After the audit was completed, it was discovered that funds had been taken from five residents, totaling $50,642 between April 2010 and October 2013.

In order to hide the multiple thefts, the report states that Barrios "also reallocated a total of  $78,285.39 from other residents, by applying portions of payments and refunds received by the facility to the accounts of the five residents in order to keep their rent payments current."

When confronted with the results of the audit, Barrios told the administration that she was feeling ill and left the facility. She later contacted them and offered to pay restitution by cashing in her retirement plan.

Barrios was arrested Saturday, April 12th and booked into the EBR Parish Prison for felony theft and forgery.

Her bond was set at $10,000.  The name of the facility was not disclosed by authorities in the report.

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