Illinois nurse gets probation for using deceased patient’s credit card | State and regional

DECATUR, Ill .– Velma L. Copeland, a former nurse in charge of the Decatur nursing home who went shopping with a deceased patient’s credit card, accepted a plea on Monday and was sentenced to 24 months probation .

Copeland, 48, was scheduled to appear before a jury in Macon County Circuit Court on Monday on charges of aggravated identity theft, illegal possession of a credit card and illegal possession of drugs.

The plea deal brokered by his defense attorney, Kevin Markes, saw the charge of aggravated identity theft changed to identity theft, a Class 4 felony. Judge Rodney Forbes then agreed to dismiss the charges. remaining charges.

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The judge further ordered Copeland, who lives in Kincaid, to undergo an addiction assessment and follow any recommended treatment.

An affidavit under oath from the Decatur Police Department regarding the case indicated that an 84-year-old man died on November 24, 2020, while he was a patient at Fair Havens Senior Living. Her 55-year-old daughter called detectives on December 22 after discovering some 21 transactions accumulated on her father’s credit card from the day of his death through December 2.

Items billed ranged from a $ 405 utility bill to a video game for $ 299, as well as other charges for food, gasoline and a dog collar, totaling over $ 1,700. . Detective Adam Siefman said he pulled surveillance footage from various stores and businesses that matched the time of the transactions that showed Copeland, sometimes still dressed in nurse gowns, using the deceased patient’s Discover card.

Siefman checked with the nursing home and discovered that it was Copeland who was working as the nurse in charge of the unit on the day the patient died and the next.

“During an interview with Miranda, Velma admitted to finding the credit card under the bedside table where the victim was staying after his death,” Siefman said in the affidavit. “Velma admitted to taking the credit card and making purchases with (the patient’s) credit card…

“Velma claimed that she had been out of work for about six months prior to her employment with Fairhaven and that she had no money.”

The guilty plea in the Decatur case did not end Copeland’s legal problems, however. Court records show that at the time of Decatur’s crime, she was on “first offender probation” out of Christian County after pleading guilty in December 2019 to possession of methamphetamine.

Prior to sentencing on Monday, Judge Forbes warned Copeland, “… There is a possibility that this guilty plea is being used to violate your first offender probation status, do you understand that?

“Yes, your honor,” Copeland replied.

Christian County Circuit Court records show the state filed a motion to revoke his probation status on March 24 and Copeland is due in court for that case on Wednesday.

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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