- Ben Brasch The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A nurse has been sentenced to three years in prison for stealing more than $9,000 from her patients.
April Dionne Echols, 39, admitted in court Wednesday morning that she took bank cards from two patients at an Austell facility.
Echols was living in Loganville but working at Anderson Mill Rehabilitation Center, 2130 Anderson Mill Road, in December.
The facility has 170 beds, according to U.S. World & News Report.
“These victims were in that facility not because they wanted to be there, but because they could not care for themselves,” prosecutor Jason Marbutt said in a statement. “ ... And while they were in that position of vulnerability, someone in a position of trust — a nurse — stole from them.”
She was indicted in April and has been in jail since her arrest in January.
A warrant said one of the cards she stole was from a 69-year-old female patient.
Echols was declined on several purchases totaling $31,500, according to the warrant.
Echols called the victim’s bank 37 times from her cell phone, posing as the account holder, to try to push through the fraudulent transactions.
Another credit card she took was from a 68-year-old patient with ALS — or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Prosecutors said the man could barely speak.
The man’s family thought something was amiss when they saw several ATM withdrawals and a pair of $2,000 money orders from Publix on his account.
Cobb Superior Court judge LaTain Kell told Echols that the crime “goes far beyond a violation of simple trust.”
“It’s a violation of human decency,” Kell said.
Kell also sentenced Echols to seven years of probation and ordered her to pay restitution to the banks that had reimbursed their customers.
And she will “be prohibited from working in the care of others,” the courts said.
Her nursing license expired while in jail, according to state records.