Nurse accused of stealing $43K from elderly patients in exchange for non-existent hearing aids

May 7, 2012 9:44:49 AM PDT
A nurse is accused of stealing more than $40,000 in cash from elderly patients in exchange for hearing aids that were never delivered.

Court records state that patients of an ear, nose and throat practice at Memorial Southwest Hermann Hospital started to complain that they had not received their hearing aids. They claimed that they had paid an employee, Patricia Romo Moreno, for their hearing aids and had not received them. The office manager says she noticed that there were no records of hearing aids being ordered, nor any records showing that patients had paid for them.

Police say one elderly patient told them that during an office visit on March 20, 2011, Moreno recommended a hearing aid and that she gave Moreno $500 cash as a down payment and received a receipt from Moreno. That patient says Moreno later called her and asked for the remaining balance of $600. She says a couple months later, Moreno came to her home to pick up the cash and give her a receipt.

The patient told police that she called Moreno numerous times asking where her hearing aid was, and that after Moreno made several excuses, Moreno eventually told the senior to stop calling her. Police say the patient picked Moreno out of a photo array.

According to police, investigators spoke with another patient who claimed Moreno told her she needed a hearing aid and that she needed to write a check for $1,500 directly to her. The victim also says Moreno gave out her personal cell phone number and told her to contact her directly, not the doctor's office. She says she never received her hearing aid and that the office says they had no record of her order.

Police say the office manager found 21 additional patients complaining of theft. The total amount of theft from all of the victims was more than $43,000, court documents show.

Moreno, 39, is charged with theft of elderly. Bond has been set at $80,000.

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