An Alexandria certified nursing assistant faces multiple charges of identity theft against six residents under her care at Vitality Senior Living in Arlington.
On April 16, the suspect was arrested after allegedly admitting to the Vitality Senior Living executive director that she cashed a fraudulent $1,200 check from a resident in her care.
The victim reported to Arlington Police that six of his blank personal checks were stolen from his checkbook, and that two checks were cashed without his permission. He also told police that there were a number of fraudulent charges against his debit card.
The suspect’s name was written on one of the checks, and her brother’s name was written on another. Her brother also works at the facility and has not been charged.
Police searched the suspect’s phone and on it found photos of the victim’s driver’s license, and the front and back of his debit cards, according to a search warrant affidavit.
The officer also discovered further evidence on her phone “affecting five victims from Vitality Senior Living, potentially among several others from other facilities,” according to police. “Photographs of all five victims’ credit and/or debit cards were located in addition to some photographs of their respective driver’s licenses and/or social security cards.”
Police confirmed that the additional five victims were under the care of the suspect, and that three of them confirmed fraudulent activity from the cards that were found on her phone.
Also on the phone were screenshots of Apple products purchased, as well as “other fraudulent activity which appeared to include the filing of unemployment and taxes under identities that have been unable to be verified,” according to police.
The suspect goes to court for more than a dozen identity theft charges on May 25.
Vitality Senior Living released the following statement:
At Vitality Living, we are committed to ensuring our residents feel comfortable and confident in the care we provide. We recently became aware that an employee had stolen and used a resident’s ATM card and a number of checks. We immediately notified state and local authorities and terminated this employee. We are working with the police as they conduct their investigation and pursue further legal action. We also are conducting an internal investigation and taking the necessary steps to ensure we prevent similar incidents in the future. We are diligent about protecting the privacy and safety of our residents and will continue to hold our community to the highest standards of compassion, quality and safety.
Virginia mask mandate tweaked by governor — “The amended executive order follows CDC guidance that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask outdoors when alone or in small gatherings. Masks remain required in shared indoors settings as well as outdoors at large crowded events such as concerts, sporting events or graduation ceremonies.” [Patch]
Federal grand jury charges Arlington lawyer with paying underage victims for sex — “Matthew Erausquin, 46, was arrested in November after a 1.5-year-long investigation. He was charged in Alexandria federal court with sex trafficking minors, producing child pornography, and charges related to transporting or forcing victims to cross state lines for sex.” [ARLnow]
Misha’s Coffee aims to open second location in May — “A café employee said that Misha’s is tentatively planning to open the second location in May. The brand’s iconic orange sign is already hanging at the remodeled waterfront building, which was formerly home to Olde Town Gemstones.” [Alexandria Living]
Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy and windy (during the day). High around 70F. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph… Clear skies (in the evening). Gusty winds early. Low 44F. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.” [Weather.com]
New job: Investigator assistant — “The investigator assistant is responsible for providing administrative support to the investigative unit and performing research on data to assist in identifying cases of potential overpayment or abuse.” [Indeed]
Arlington Approves Agreement with Alexandria To Dredge Four Mile Run — “The dredging — which will remove built-up sediment and debris from the bottom of the waterway — is expected to cost about $3.6 million, with each jurisdiction paying about $1.8 million. The project is expected to get under way in the late summer or early fall, and will take approximately four months, Aileen Winquist of Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services tells ARLnow.” [ARLnow]
Timothy Guy Named Bishop Ireton High School Principal — “Being a part of the Bishop Ireton community as a teacher has been a true blessing, and I am delighted to be selected as the next principal.” [Zebra]
Northern Virginia Conservation Trust gets quarter acre on Russell Road — “The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) is a nonprofit that works to protect land, water, and other areas. Recently, the group obtained a quarter-acre lot on Russell Road. It contains trees and open grass areas along with a vegetative buffer leading to a stream that will help protect the Potomac River and Cameron Run.” [Zebra]
Police clarify messaging SNAFU over weekend — “We want to clear something up. On Saturday afternoon, we shared two posts about the DUI patrols in the City. We posted one in English and worked with one of our Spanish-speaking officers to create a separate post in Spanish. What we learned is that Facebook settings appear to automatically translate a post. That’s what happened to our Spanish-language post, making it appear we didn’t check our work on the English side of it. That’s not what happened. There was already an English-language version of the post on the timeline. Consider it a lesson learned. We’ll do better next time.” [Facebook]
Today’s weather — “Rain likely (during the day). High 59F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall near a half an inch… Cloudy skies early with areas of fog developing after midnight. Low 52F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]
New job: Classroom monitor — “Individuals needed to monitor and assist with enforcing health mitigation strategies within the location assigned…” [Indeed]
The 60-year-old Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center is in disrepair and underutilized, and over the next six months staff from Arlington and Alexandria will send back recommendations on its future use.
That could mean co-locating mental health and rehabilitative services to the center, or potentially shutting it down altogether.
Mayor Justin Wilson, in a joint meeting with the Arlington County Board on Monday, said that Fairfax County is not interested in taking juveniles from the center. Wilson said that he recently spoke with Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay, who reportedly told him that the door is not closed on the issue, “but the hill is steep.”
“I think they (Fairfax County) have some some resistance for a variety of different reasons to to bringing kids from other jurisdictions into their facility,” Wilson said. “I think there is a logic to potentially working together again given the way the capacity is, but the door is not closed.”
Fairfax County’s juvenile detention center has 121 beds and is currently at 25% capacity.
The center, which opened in 1958 at 200 S. Whiting Street in the West End, houses youth with serious offenses and behavioral issues from Alexandria, Arlington County and the City of Falls Church. The center has seen a 72% reduction in the number of juveniles in the facility between 2006 and 2019, prompting a reduction of beds at the facility from 70 to 46 in 2016, according to a cost benefit analysis provided the Moss Group.
The analysis also found that:
- The facility is underutilized
- The average age of an inmate is 16.5 years
- There were 150 juveniles committed in fiscal year 2019
- The juveniles were 56.7% African American, 38.7% Caucasian, 30.7% Hispanic and 4.6% Other/Unknown
- 72% of juveniles were male; 28% were female
- Most common offenses are probation violation, contempt of court, robbery, assault, larceny and narcotics
Arlington County Board Member Christian Dorsey said the analysis created more questions that answers, and that staff from Alexandria and Arlington should collaborate to create options for future use at the center.
“I recognize that it is not satisfying to come to the conclusion where we’ve had a study that indicates that we have a need for more study, and more questions and more looked at data to be explored,” Dorsey said. “There’s still probably more opportunities for us to explore diversion and ways in which we can not actually have juveniles entering this facility.”
Half of Popular Duo to Perform at Birchmere — “On the evening of June 24, 1964, Washington was engulfed in Peter and Gordon-mania. Midway through the British duo’s performance at the Alexandria Roller Rink, a desperate Jack Alix, DJ at WEEL radio, halted the music and begged the crowd to please stop pushing. ‘I do remember it was a good gig, where the audience was crazy, with screaming girls throwing themselves at the stage and all that stuff,’ said Peter Asher, calling from his Malibu, Calif., home.” [Washington Post]
Alexandria Man Charged in Arlington Incident — “A 69-year-old Alexandria man is facing a felony charge after police say a minor, two-vehicle crash led to a physical altercation along Lee Highway… [The man] punched a window on the other car several times, then ‘produced a knife and allegedly attempted to strike the victim,’ according to Arlington County Police.” [ARLnow]
City’s Opioid Plan Finalized — “The City of Alexandria has finalized the Opioid Work Group Strategic Three Year Plan (2020 – 2023) to eliminate opioid misuse and its harmful effects in Alexandria. The plan, which is now available at alexandriava.gov/opioids, was formed through several years of extensive engagement and collaboration with community members and experts.” [City of Alexandria]
Alexandria Home Sale Prices Rise Above Arlington — “The Amazon HQ2 effect on home prices in Northern Virginia continues and, at least by one measure, the Alexandria housing market is now more expensive than Arlington County. At least it was in October, the most recent month for which data is available.” [WTOP]
Trampoline Park Hoping to Open By End of Year — “Management for Get Air Trampoline Park, an indoor recreation and amusement park, confirmed that the Alexandria location is scheduled to open in the second half of December. The space Get Air is occupying at 340 S. Pickett St. was formerly a U.S. Post Office in the West End Village shopping center.” [Alexandria Living]
Trash Will Be Picked Up on Thanksgiving — “Thursday trash/recycling routes: your trash and recycling WILL BE collected starting at 6AM this Thursday so the route can be completed in advance of the Turkey Trot. If you are not up that early, please set your material out Wed. night!” [Twitter/@AlexandriaVATES]
Meeting About Southern GW Parkway Safety — “On Tuesday, Dec. 3, the National Park Service will host a meeting to discuss George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) visitors’ recommendations about how to improve safety at key intersections between the City of Alexandria and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.” [National Park Service]
In a rare joint meeting of top Alexandria and Arlington officials, the two communities laid the foundation for a closer collaboration on affordable housing.
Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson and the City Council met with the Arlington County Board last night (Tuesday) at Arlington’s Gunston Community Center after Wilson’s proposal to meet on a flotilla of lashed-together kayaks in Four Mile Run was shot down. There was very little set in stone at the meeting, but the gathering allowed both organizations to set priorities for policy goals as they prepare for Amazon’s HQ2, the new Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, and a new George Mason University School of Computing.
“The work around Potomac Yard is different and groundbreaking,” Wilson said. “If we’re not intentional and deliberate, things will just happen to us. We have a chance to get ahead of things. I’m hoping to set a course that our staff can get to work on all of these policy areas.”
“I’m very excited for this step,” Wilson continued. “This is the start of a journey for us and there are a lot of folks rooting for us.”
There was some early discussion of new governing bodies being established to facilitate collaborative efforts across local boundaries. Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey raised the possibility of establishing a community development corporation — a 501c3 with he described as being capable of a great deal of flexibility. The idea, however, was tabled for the time being.
“There are a few different concepts that have been tried elsewhere and have been put in place in our respective communities,” said Dorsey. “We can have a variety of governance models with a broad representation of stakeholders. There is an endless number of configurations we can use and get all the benefits of an independent nonprofit.”
For the most part, the two governing bodies mingled seamlessly — though frequent, joking barbs were traded back and forth, with Arlington at one point threatening to annex Del Ray. Both organizations shared almost identical concerns about the upcoming arrival of Amazon, particularly on the headquarters’ impact on local affordable housing.
Councilwoman Redella “Del” Pepper said many of Alexandria’s most vulnerable populations feel that the loss of affordable housing in the region is a foregone conclusion and some were starting to flee Alexandria before rising costs pushed them out.
ALXnow Launches Today — This is the first post on the first day of ALXnow. Our goal is to bring Alexandria timely, relevant and useful local news coverage that uncovers unreported stories and drives community conversations. We hope you like it.
About the Morning Notes — Morning Notes posts like this one will be published on most weekday mornings and will highlight notable social media posts, press releases and the reporting of other news outlets. Most posts will be shorter than this one — we’re catching up! Each Morning Notes post will also feature a photo from around town, often from our staff photographer, Jay Westcott. You can submit photos for possible publication too: email us at ne[email protected] or tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
All ACPS Schools Meet State Benchmark — “All schools within Alexandria City Public Schools are fully accredited for the 2019-20 academic year for the first time in 20 years. On Monday morning the Virginia Department of Education announced the results that all ACPS schools met the state benchmark for the first time since the accreditation system first began in 1999.” [ACPS]
Bank Manager Pleads Guilty to Fraud — “An Alexandria bank branch manager pleaded guilty Monday to stealing more than $500,000 from older customers after gaining their trust to personally handle their transactions. Fetehi Mohammed, a manager since 2015 at the Wells Fargo Bank branch near the intersection of Quaker Lane and King Street, reviewed which customers had enough money that his unauthorized withdrawals would not attract notice.” [Washington Post]
Proposed Shelter for Migrant Kids Nixed — “Plans for a facility to house unaccompanied migrant children in Northern Virginia have been scrapped after pushback from local leaders and community members. Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson tweeted an email he received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirming that the Office of Refugee Resettlement was no longer considering Northern Virginia as a potential site for an unaccompanied migrant children shelter.” [WTOP]
Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested — “Alexandria police have a subject is in custody for robbing an Alexandria bank. The robbery happened at the 300 block of South Van Dorn street at around 11:15 AM on Saturday. Alexandria police arrived on the scene and made an arrest.” [Twitter, WDVM]
Hank’s Pasta Bar Closes — “Hank’s Pasta Bar closed Wednesday after 3 years in business. The restaurant, at 600 Montgomery Street in Old Town North, closed to make room for a new Italian restaurant that will open later this year.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]
Meeting Today About Proposed Noise Law Changes — “[Alexandria] is planning major revisions to its Noise Control Code, and it is asking the community to weigh in on proposed changes to the ordinance. Changes to the code, which was first adopted more than 55 years ago in 1963, include expanded wording in the animals section, which sets specific limits on barks, howls, bays, meows, squawks, quacks or other sounds between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.” [WTOP]
Joint Arlington and Alexandria Meeting Tonight — “Building on the two localities’ collaborative success in recruiting unprecedented new investments in National Landing, the Alexandria City Council and the Arlington County Board will hold a joint meeting on Tuesday, October 1, to discuss the development of a formal framework to continue working together on key policy issues that support inclusive growth.” [City of Alexandria]