By BOB DUNN
NORTHAMPTON — A former visiting nurse faces charges after police say she stole nearly $9,800 from an 85-year-old woman she was caring for in Easthampton — and may have used some of the money to pay for a funeral and an abortion.
Tanya A. Redick, 34, of Westfield, pleaded not guilty in Northampton District Court Tuesday to charges of larceny over $250 from a person over 60 or disabled and larceny over $250 by a single scheme.
Police accuse Redick of using an ATM card belonging to the Easthampton woman in her care to make withdrawals totalling about $9,473 and of taking another $350 in cash from the woman, according to court records.
Police said Redick admitted she used some of the money to cover funeral expenses for a friend and to pay for an abortion.
According to court records, the victim’s son, who has access to his mother’s account and lives in Texas, noticed some unusual withdrawals from the account beginning in August and continuing through early November.
Easthampton police investigated the unauthorized withdrawals and interviewed the victim and her son as well as Commonwealth Registry of Nurses, the agency that employed Redick.
The registry is represented by attorney Alfred Chamberland of Easthampton who said in over 25 years of serving clients in Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin counties, this is the first time allegations like this have been made against one of its nurses.
Chamberland said when the registry learned of the investigation, it provided all documents and information requested by police.
As the investigation continued, Redick was suspended Nov. 30 and was not allowed to interact with any of the agency’s clients, including the victim, Chamberland said.
Chamberland said when the registry learned the police had enough evidence to bring charges, the decision was made to fire Redick. According to court records, Redick was one of five nurses from the registry who visited the victim in two-hour shifts, but the only one with access to her ATM card.
According to court files, the other nurses told the victim they weren’t allowed to handle finances for their patients, and a representative from the registry confirmed that policy with police.
Redick told police she was aware of the policy but agreed to make some withdrawals for the victim at her request because she “felt bad for her,” according to court records.
Police said at first Redick told them she made withdrawals but only at the victim’s request and only for the amounts she asked for with receipts for each of them.
Redick said the victim asked her to make large withdrawals every month between $1,000 and $1,500, according to court papers.
The victim’s son told police that amount went far beyond the cash his mother needs for monthly out-of-pocket expenses.
The victim’s son said, based on bank statements before Redick started working with his mother, ATM withdrawals were typically between $100 and $150 and only about once or twice a month.
Out of 43 transactions between Aug. 19 and Dec. 1, the victim told police she only authorized Redick to make five of those, totalling $1,450. The remaining 38 withdrawals total $9,473 and were not approved by the victim, police said.
Most of the suspicious withdrawals were from ATMs and banks in Easthampton, but several were made in Westfield and one was made in Worcester, according to court records.
Also, the victim reported to police that Redick took $350 in cash from a plastic bin where valuables were kept when Redick thought she was sleeping.
Redick told police she believed she went to the ATM between 20 and 30 times and estimated the amount of money she took between $800 and $1,000.
Redick was released on $250 cash bail and is due back in court Feb. 14 for a pre-trial hearing.
Bob Dunn can be reached at [email protected]