Tashau Edwards was arrested by Fort Lauderdale, Florida officials after she allegedly participated in stealing almost $400,000 from a 99-year-old woman, according to local news reports. Edwards, 34, was booked into Broward County Jail on charges of grand theft on a person of 65 years of age or older and exploitation of the elderly. It was not immediately known whether Edwards, who was apprehended after turning herself into authorities on June 27, has qualified for bail bond or hired a private criminal defense attorney.
News sources indicate that Edwards is suspected of stealing from the unnamed woman in cooperation with Angela Byrd, 45. Byrd allegedly served as the woman’s home health aide from January 2008 to March 2010, starting when the victim was 95 years of age. During a seven-month period that overlapped with Byrd’s term of employment by the victim, Edwards also served as a home health aide for the victim. It is not clear what kind of credentials Edwards has, although reports indicate that she may have worked as a home health aide for other clients as well.
Byrd, who was arrested the day before Edwards, allegedly make the thefts by padding her paycheck or having her client sign additional checks as ‘loans and gifts.’ Public reports indicate that Edwards is suspected of helping Byrd with this, though it is not entirely clear how. It is similarly unknown how much of the stolen money may have gone to Edwards for her participation in the scheme. Byrd allegedly stole $341,230 during her 26-month employment. She was supposed to be making a maximum of $15 per hour, sources indicate. It is not yet known whether Byrd has qualified for bail bond or hired an attorney, nor is it known whether any of the money she allegedly stole is still liquid.
Another defendant, 25-year old Tanecia Josephs, was also apprehended as a participant in the theft. Josephs, who, according to the press, used to date Byrd’s son, covered for Byrd as the victim’s home health aide from August 2008 to October 2008. During that time, she allegedly stole $45,355 using the same tactics used by Byrd. Josephs, who usually works as a teaching assistant, was arrested on the same day at Byrd for the alleged offense.
The alleged thefts evidently came to light when the elderly woman’s family discovered that she was spending a large amount on her home health care needs. The family contacted the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, whose Economic Crimes unit worked with the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task force to further investigate the alleged crime. It is not clear how long the investigation took.
Home health care aides, as staple for many elderly infirm persons who need help completing daily tasks such as preparing meals and picking up and administering medications, are often available through hospitals or other agencies. However, the victim apparently hired Byrd independent of any middlemen. Officials purportedly believe that Byrd, Josephs, and Edwards may have other victims and are encouraging anyone with information to come forward.
Read about more Fort Lauderdale theft cases here.