DeKalb County prosecutors say a transient caregiver of disabled persons took advantage of several of her clients, stealing their money and identity, forcing them to live in squalid conditions, and even beating one of them.
Authorities said Bobbie Ward offered care to elderly or disabled people in order to use their identities to make money.
But the family of the 50-year-old Ward, a Cedar Grove Middle School aide whose last available address was in Decatur, disputed the accusations.
“They’re lying on that girl,” Ward’s mother, Magnolia Ward, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie denied a request from Ward’s attorney for bond Wednesday, saying there was evidence that Ward was continuing to do harm to disabled individuals while out on bond for previous charges.
“The allegations are such that the Court cannot ignore them,” Barrie said. “There are bills galore in other people’s names that have not been paid, and I have not heard anyone say that is not true.”
In a 25-count indictment initially handed down last year and recently re-indicted after more alleged victims were uncovered, Ward is accused of beating and burning a disabled man with a curling iron.
The indictment said she also left another man unable to climb stairs on his own living in a filthy ground-floor room at the bottom of a flight of stairs while scamming money from his savings and his Social Security benefits, and used the identities of those two men and others who were her charges to set up utility, rent, phone and cable accounts that she never paid.
A second four-count indictment charged her with theft by deception, identity fraud and theft of services for taking more than $60,000 from a man dying of AIDS by adding her name to his checking account and withdrawing money deposited from his IBM pension over a six-year period.
Ward also tried to have her name added as a beneficiary of the pension after he died, the indictment said.
Defense attorney Careton Matthews told the judge that man, Michael McVay, gave his permission for Ward to receive the money.
“I provided power of attorney signed by Mr. McVay in the presence of a notary public,” Matthews said. “His family deserted him because of his disease. Ms. Ward came to his aid. She was with him when he took his last breath.”
Ward had been released in 2011 on an $80,000 bond for the first indictment, but was arrested on March 8 for failing to show for a court hearing, prosecutors said. The woman continues to be held in DeKalb County Jail.
DeKalb Assistant District Attorney Jeanne Canavan said that when Ward’s home was searched, police found evidence she had rented furniture and was applying for a credit card in the name of another person she was caring for.
“Ms. Ward is a risk of committing further felonies,” Canavan said.
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