JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – A nurse’s aide is accused of stealing at least $27,000 from an elderly Jacksonville Beach woman who she was taking care of.
According to Jacksonville Beach police, Stephanie Cerrillo, 37, became friends with Carolyn Chelette, 78, while Chelette was in a physical rehabilitation center in July. Chelette told News4Jax that Cerrillo was one of several nurse’s aides who tended to her needs.
“They came in and help me shower. I wasn’t allowed to get out of the bed at first,” Chelette said. “She would come in and she was so helpful.”
Cerrillo agreed to help Chelette with in-home care when Chelette was discharged and eventually convinced Chelette to loan her money, police said. According to an arrest report and Chelette, Cerrillo told Chelette that she was a single mother of four and was no longer working at the rehab center because she was providing assistance to the 78-year-old and needed the money for a car payment, student loan payment and other needs. Cerrillo said she would pay it back, police said.
“She came up with $800 worth, so I told her I would cover that for her until she got back on her feet,” Chelette said.
Chelette said she developed a level of trust in Cerrillo, who began doing her grocery shopping.
“She said, ‘You make a list and I will pick up your stuff for you.’ So I would give her authorization to use my card to buy my groceries or to do this or that,” Chelette said.
But Chelette told police she thinks Cerrillo took a photo of her debit card and used it repeatedly for the next several months. In October, Chelette learned her bank account had been “drained” of $27,000, police said.
“I was overdrawn, so then I was afraid to write a check because I was afraid she was sending more things through that would make me more overdrawn,” said Chelette, who told News4Jax she is now fighting with the credit union to recoup her money and it has been an uphill battle.
Investigators said they documented dozens of ATM withdrawals and reviewed surveillance video of Cerrillo making those withdrawals.
Cerrillo is charged with elderly exploitation and credit card fraud.