Caregiver charged after $18,000 in cash, thousands in items go missing from home

Urica Ray (Source: Jonesboro Police Department)
Urica Ray (Source: Jonesboro Police Department)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – An at-home caregiver has been arrested and charged after police say she stole approximately $18,000 in cash from the victim.

According to a probable cause hearing Monday, 31-year-old Urica Ray was charged with aduse of adults, exploits with property value for more than $2,500, theft, and second degree forgery.

Ray was arrested after police received a tip from a local bank.

"On July 3, the Jonesboro Police Department was contacted by a local bank regarding suspicious activities and large withdraws from the victim's bank account," Simpkins said.

When police arrived at the victim's home, she stated that she recently added Ray to her account so she could, "buy groceries and pay bills, according to the victim."

The bank advised police that over $18,000 was removed from the account in approximately 3 weeks.

Ray told police the woman was senile, epileptic, and wasn't aware of her surroundings and that the woman signed all checks. When police spoke with the victim, however, she told police that she hadn't signed any checks since recently breaking her shoulder.

Ray told police she was employed by Sitter's Etc., but was "freelancing" for the victim and was in charge of scheduling caregivers for her at her home.

Ray was not working as a Sitter's, Etc., employee at the time of the arrest. The victim was not a client of Sitters Etc.

Ray told police she used the money to pay for caregivers for the victim, but other caregivers told police that Ray would hand out the checks.

Police say  several jewelry items from the home adding up to almost thousands of dollars were also missing. Once police questioned Ray, she returned most of the stolen jewelry and car keys.

On the police report is shows that Urica Ray is employed by Sitter's Etc. Region 8 News reached out to Sitter's Etc. for comment; they released the following statement:

"Sitters, Etc. is saddened to hear that Urica Travis was arrested in connection with an alleged theft.  Until Sitters was contacted about the arrest, Sitters had no idea that Ms. Travis was "working on the side", and the complainant in this case was not a Sitters, Etc. customer.

Ms. Travis was terminated by Sitters, Etc. yesterday after Sitters discovered that Ms. Travis had been arrested.  Sitters, Etc. employed Ms. Travis in August 2012, after receiving a clean report from a criminal records check provided by the Arkansas State Police.  In the 10+ months Ms. Travis was employed by Sitters, Sitters received no complaints about her work.  Ms. Travis successfully completed company training in 2012 and 2013, and had several years of prior experience as a caregiver.

Sitters, Etc. provides in home caregiving services for elderly and disabled customers and patients.  Sitters provides over 1,000 hours a week of in home service to customers in the Jonesboro AR area and has an outstanding reputation for quality care and honest, loyal and dependable caregivers who truly care about their clients." ~ Sitter's Etc.

As Ray had no prior record, Simpkins said it's important to get to know who is taking care of your loved one.

"Know the company, stay in contact with them and get to know the person who's coming into the home," Simpkins said.

Simpkins said as the investigation is ongoing, there is the potential that more victims will come forward.

Ray is due back in court on August 30.

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