A Benton County Woman is Charged with Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person
Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that a Benton County woman is under arrest and is charged with exploitation of a vulnerable person.
Melissa Collins, 39, of Hickory Flat, Mississippi, voluntarily surrendered today at the Union County jail. Collins was employed with Total Care Services of Greenwood, MS. She served as an aide and was being paid by the Division of Medicaid to provide homemaker services at a patient’s home in New Albany. Collins is accused of illegally using the patient’s debit card over a period of several days to make four withdrawals of $100 each from the patient’s bank account, without the patients consent. The Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit conducted the investigation.
“In-home services not only allow a patient to retain the dignity and comfort of their own home, they also typically represent a cost savings over the cost of facility care,” Attorney General Hood said. “When a service provider exploits a vulnerable patient by gaining his or her trust to steal, it can be devastating to the victim both emotionally and financially.”
Collins is free on a $10,000 bond. If convicted, she will face up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. The case was investigated by Joe C. Sanderson and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Mark Ward.