NEW BRITAIN – A city woman is accused of bilking an elderly home care companion client of $35,000, which was used to buy cars, an apartment, plane tickets and a variety of goods, police said.
Amber Foster, 26, of 126 Biruta St., was charged Tuesday with first-degree larceny, identify theft and credit card theft and served with a separate arrest warrant on an unrelated domestic violence incident. She already had three pending court cases involving domestic violence and other charges that she racked up as she was using the victim’s money, court records show.
Foster was hired by the New Britain-based Liberty Home Care Options, LLC. on March 3, according to a warrant for her arrest. Within days, Foster had obtained power of attorney over the elderly woman’s accounts and began racking up charges on her credits cards and opening joint accounts giving her complete reign over the victim’s money, police said.
The company is licensed through the state Department of Consumer Protection as a Home Companion Agency, whose aide cook meals, do light cleaning and other personal care chores for clients.
Foster was able to pay for the apartment on Biruta Street for a year with funds drawn from the woman’s accounts and told the owner of the apartment that she was getting the apartment for her elderly grandmother, police said. The victim’s name was removed from police reports. It does not appear that she moved in with Foster whose address is listed on the warrant as 126 Biruta St.
She continued to make the purchases for two months after she was fired from the company, police said. By that point, she had purchased a 2012 Infiniti and a 2015 Lexus by using the victim’s money for the down payments and a variety of other goods including trips to restaurants, a nail salon, flight tickets and attorney bills for her pending court cases, police said.
Foster was fired by the home care company on April 6 after she didn’t return repeated phone calls, said a company representative who declined to be identified. It wasn’t until police arrived at the company in August that they knew that something had occurred with the woman’s money, the representative said. The company had alerted the state Department of Social Services that the woman seemed confused about her finances at some point after Foster was fired, the representative said.
All their staff undergoes a background check including a criminal check for any larceny, sexual assault or physical abuse convictions, the representative said. Other convictions might not necessarily bar someone from working as a home companion aide, the woman said. Staff members are not permitted to become involved in the finances of clients, she said. The company provides home companion care for clients throughout the region. Foster had a breach of peace and failure to appear in court conviction at the time she was hired, court records show.
The theft of the money was discovered in June when DSS social worker notified an attorney who later became the conservator for the victim’s affairs that it appeared there were fraudulent charges on the elderly woman’s credit card. The attorney had Foster’s power of attorney over the victim’s affairs revoked on July 20 when the lawyer was formally appointed as the conservator of the victim’s affairs, the warrant said.
Foster turned herself in Tuesday to be served with two arrest warrants. She was released after posting $125,000 bond following her arraignment in New Britain Superior Court.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.