Woman accused of stealing $20,000 from The Rose

April 19, 2012 1:27:35 PM PDT
Tina Steele, a breast cancer patient, just found out the woman who was supposed to help her get life-saving treatment was arrested for stealing from the organization that helped her.

And investigators say there were more than a dozen victims who thought their cash was going to a non-profit to help with treatment.

The accused thief works for a breast cancer treatment organization and court documents show her patients were her victims.

The accusations that anyone would steal from a non-profit organization are alarming, but the charges are particularly disturbing to those who benefited from the guidance and trusted the woman who helped them while they were sick. Prosecutors say in some cases, the employee told cancer patients they needed to give her cash for their treatment.

Steele has been a Houston singer and musician for 30 years. But pursuing her passion came at a price.

"From the time I felt the lump," she said.

She had no health insurance when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. From financial help for her treatment to wigs and prostheses, an organization came to her rescue.

"The Rose basically saved my life, I mean was laying around on the couch dying," Steele said.

And one employee in particular -- Lynn Tran -- worked as her patient navigator.

"You lose all of your hair, so I'm calling Lynn. She says no problem, you come in and we'll fix you up with a wig," Steele said.

When she heard of the charges Tran faces on the news for allegedly stealing at least $20,000 from the organization, she says she screamed at the television.

"I said I don't believe it, the person I worked with, that helped me so much at The Rose has been arrested," Steele said.

Prosecutors say Tran took money from the non-profit organization between January 2011 and February of this year when she was fired.

We asked Tran about the theft charges at her League City home, but she told us "I can't talk to you, sorry."

Dorothy Gibbons, the CEO and co-founder of the organization that serves 30,000 women a year, says she hopes they are able to recover some of the missing money.

"Very disheartening, but we must move forward and we are doing everything that we can and that's why it was important to bring it out," Gibbons said.

Steele is troubled by the accusations against the woman who's guided her for three years.

"Something had to have happened for her to have done this," Steel said.

She's working on healing her broken hips. Her breast cancer is now in Stage 4, but says she wouldn't even be here had it not been for the organization's work.

"The Rose will go on. The Rose has to go on, it has to go on," Steele said.

Tran is out on almost $75,000 bond. She worked at The Rose for more than seven years. The Harris County DA's Office says they are still conducting interviews and have not finished the investigation.

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