Angela Byrd and Tanecia Josephs of Fort Lauderdale, Florida were arrested after a 99-year-old woman’s family accused the pair of stealing nearly $400,000 from their relative, according to local news reports. Byrd, 45, and Josephs, 25, were apprehended on Tuesday on charges of grand theft on a person 65 or older and exploitation of the elderly. Both remain incarcerated in lieu of paying bail bond: Byrd on $175,000 bond, Josephs on $35, 000. It remains unclear whether either woman has retained a private criminal defense attorney.
According to news reports, Angela Byrd worked as an independent home health aide for the victim for two years starting in January 2008 and ending in March 2010. The victim apparently required 24-hour at-home care for various ailments, and was under the impression that she was paying Byrd about $15 per hour. However, investigators claim that Byrd padded her paycheck by $341,230 by adding extra funds to her paychecks or having the elderly woman sign extra checks as loans and gifts. It does not appear as though Byrd ever returned the loans, although she may have been planning on doing so.
Josephs, who reportedly worked in Byrd’s stead from August 2008 to October 2008, allegedly stole $45,355 from the woman in a similar manner. Joseph evidently normally works as a teaching assistant, although it is unclear where. She also may have been dating Byrd’s son at the time of the incident, news sources indicate.
The victim’s family apparently contacted authorities after they realized that the victim was paying far more for her healthcare than she thought. It is not known how much of the allegedly stolen funds remain, nor is it clear what the defendants allegedly did with the money. It is important to remember that, as always, the defendants are innocent until proven otherwise.
Bryd and Josephs were hardly the only ones arrested for a somewhat unconventional crime this week. On Wednesday, Port Charlotte resident Vincent Lorenzo Barney was arrested after he allegedly posted a fake bomb threat using his Facebook account. Barney, 29, is being held at Charlotte County Jail on $5,000 bond. He has been charged with a felony count of making a false bomb threat, according to news reports.
Sources indicate that the alleged offense took place on Wednesday morning, when Barney allegedly used his personal computer at his home (located on Brentano Street in Port Charlotte) to announce via Facebook that there was a bomb at the Town Center Mall on Tamiami Trail. Someone immediately called police, who responded both to the mall and to Barney’s residence.
The mall reportedly had to be evacuated as a result of the bomb threat. The financial cost of the alleged threat, from the necessary police force to lost sales for stores at the mall, has not been calculated. Meanwhile officials located and went to Barney’s home address. Barney reportedly denied the allegations and allowed the detectives inside his home, where they allegedly found a computer logged in to Facebook and showing a post in Barney’s account that read “there’s a bomb in the mall.” Barney then allegedly confessed, saying that he had posted the comment but that there was no truth to the statement.