(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) A St. Joseph in-home health care nursing assistance was sentenced Thursday in federal court for stealing bank account information from one of her clients in order to illegally transfer more than $207,000 out of her account.
Ashley N. Garr, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to five years in federal prison without parole, which is the statutory maximum penalty. Garr was also ordered to $249,999 in restitution to her victims.
In August, Garr pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return and one count of aggravated identify theft.
According to the office of the U.S. Attorney Western District in Missouri, Garr worked as a home health aide for the victim in St. Joseph for approximately one year beginning in 2014. In late October 2016, Garr stopped at the victim's residence to introduce her children. She later excused herself to use the bathroom during the visit and found the victim's checkbook and purse with her identification. Garr used the stolen information to withdraw approximately $224,000 from the victim's bank account. She used the money to pay for student loans, credit card bills, and other expenses.
In 2017, the victim's bookkeeper was reviewing the bank statement from Nodaway Valley Bank and noticed the charges. She pointed them out to the victim and the victim stated that she did not make those charges. The bookkeeper then contacted Nodaway Valley Bank to report the fraud.
Garr wrote three $700 checks to herself on the victim's bank account on Oct. 27, 2016. There were also numerous transfers from the bank account for a total of $187,152 in 2016.
Garr also admitted that she filed fraudulent tax returns for 2014 and 2015. Garr inflated her income and tax withholdings to generate a larger refund than she was supposed to receive. Garr did not report the money she stole as income on her 2016 tax return.
According to court documents, Garr also filed false tax returns using stolen identities from disabled individuals that she obtained through her work as a home health aide.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation.