Did she use her license to care for elderly couple as a license to steal $179,000?

Sophia Shepherd, aka Sophia Brown
Sophia Shepherd, aka Sophia Brown

A Florida woman's certified nursing assistant's license is suspended and she faces four fraud charges after she was accused of using an elderly couple under her care for a $179,000 fraud.

The Florida Department of Health, which dropped an Emergency Suspension Order on the license held since 2009, knows the 30-year-old Vero Beach woman as Sophia Brown. Court documents say that's an alias used by Sophia Shepherd, who is charged with exploitation of an elderly adult from a position of trust for between $20,000 and $100,000; the same charge, but for over $100,000; scheme to defraud a financial institution; and organized fraud for $50,000 or more.

According to the Department of Health's order, Shepherd worked as an independent contractor for Indian River Home Care when she was sent to care for a married couple identified as "A.M." and "M.M." Each had been diagnosed with dementia.

Less than two months after starting work there in August 2016, Shepherd started the con. She'd lie to "M.M." that she used her personal money to buy things for "A.M." and wanted "M.M." to reimburse her. "M.M." would do so by check. The suspension order says Shepherd worked this short con enough from October 2016 to October 2017 to get $23,073.91 out of "M.M."

Then, the suspension order says, Shepherd went after big money.

"On May 5, 2017, Ms. (Shepherd) placed a call and made on online application to American Express, using Patients A.M. and M.M.'s personal identification to make herself a signatory on Patients A.M. and M.M.'s American Express credit card ... without the knowledge or consent of Patients A.M. or M.M. In accordance with Ms. (Shepherd's) request, American Express issued a supplemental card under Patient A.M. and M.M.'s account and in Ms. (Shepherd's) name."

The suspension order adds up the purchases made on the American Express card between May 27, 2017, and Nov. 16, 2017, to $156,254.15. With the checks, that would be a total of $179,328.06.

Indian River Home Care fired Shepherd on Nov. 16. She was arrested May 8. She posted $15,000 bond on May 9.