Nurse stole $14,000 from 80-year-old dementia patient, Sheriff’s Office reports

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POLK COUNTY, FL – On January 24, 2022, PCSO detectives arrested 56-year-old Donnitta Jean Vaughn of Kissimmee for stealing more than $14,000 from an 80-year-old Poinciana woman with dementia. Vaughn was the victim’s caregiver.

In June of 2019, the victim was evaluated by her physician who recommended that she not live alone in her home, at which time Vaughn, who is a licensed Certified Nursing Assistant, was hired as the victim’s caregiver to assist with personal care, household chores, and transporting the victim to her doctor’s appointments. Vaughn was paid $720.00 a week as the victim’s caregiver.

It was during another doctor’s visit in December of 2019, that Vaughn received the results from an exam revealing the victim did “not appear capable of making responsible decisions pertaining to healthcare, finances, or housing matters.”

Vaughn remained employed with the victim until March of 2021. During her employment, Vaughn had access to the victim’s financial information, including debit and credit cards, and other personal identification information.

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In the final weeks of Vaughn’s employment with the victim, the victim’s friend (who had power-of-attorney) learned that one of the victim’s credit cards was missing. After reviewing the credit card statement, she found that there had been several fraudulent charges made with the card. She also discovered suspicious activity on the victim’s credit report.

While talking with the victim about her finances, her friend learned that Vaughn, who was initially paid by checks, was now driving the victim to the bank where she would withdraw cash to pay Vaughn. That’s when the victim’s friend contacted PCSO detectives.

Detectives reviewed bank statements and credit reports, and discovered Vaughn obtained $4,868.00 more than her agreed upon salary.


Detectives also found payments to Duke Energy which were applied to Vaughn’s personal residence account. Additionally, Vaughn fraudulently obtained three credit cards in the victim’s name and used them to buy clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, bath and travel items, eat out at restaurants, and pay childcare fees. Vaughn fraudulently charged a total of $9,594.28 to those cards.

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Vaughn admitted to detectives that she felt she wasn’t getting paid enough, and knew the victim did not have the mental capacity to give permission for an increased salary, so she began using the victim’s credit cards to pay her bills and purchase other items.

“Licensed medical professionals are entrusted with caring for and protecting people during their most vulnerable moments. Instead of caring for the victim, Vaughn took advantage of her situation and stole thousands of dollars from her. Thankfully, the victim’s friend called us right away, and we will do everything in our power to ensure Vaughn is held accountable.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff

Vaughn was arrested for:

  • Criminal Use of Personal ID of a Person over 60-years-old (F2)
  • Exploitation of the Elderly (F2)
  • Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards (F3)
  • Obtaining Property by Fraud (F3)
  • Grand Theft (F3)