Health Care Firm Hired Swindler for Elder Care

     PAINESVILLE, Ohio (CN) — A home health care agency hired a notorious con artist to provide in-home independent living services, an elderly woman claims in court.
     According to plaintiff Rosa Rideout, Nightingale Home Support and Care Inc. did not conduct a background check before hiring Tonya Weiss, a woman whose criminal history of stealing from the elderly dates back to the 1960s. Now in her 70s, Weiss has served time in jails and state and federal prisons in Ohio and Florida, the Sept. 22 complaint states.
     A story published in the Columbus Dispatch in 2012 — just before Weiss was about to serve her most recent three-year prison term — estimates that in the six decades she has been operating her various scams, she has stolen millions of dollars from elderly men and women.
     In fact, Weiss’ criminal background is so nefarious that even a “simple Google search” would have turned up enough information to keep Nightingale Home Support from hiring her, Rideout claims.
     Because of her reputation for befriending and stealing from elderly men, authorities have dubbed Weiss “The Sweetheart Swindler.” Her victims have included elderly men looking for romance, as well as elderly men and women who were sick, grieving the death of a loved one or simply looking for companionship, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
     The same article reports that Weiss’ high-profile reputation as a swindler is so well-known that law enforcement officials use recordings of her voice, taken during a past investigation, as part of their elder-abuse training programs.
     Rideout says that while Weiss worked in her home, she stole many of Rideout’s personal and family belongings, transferred property titles, and took “unauthorized expenditures” from her bank account.
     Rideout is suing Nightingale Home Support in the Court of Common Pleas for Lake County, Ohio, for negligent hiring and supervision.
     Rideout is represented by Mark Abramowitz from the DiCello Law Firm in Mentor, Ohio.
     Nightingale Home Support Inc., based in Painesville, Ohio, did not respond to a phone call requesting comment.

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