Purchases included car loan payments, DoorDash, and Amazon.com
LEBANON, Indiana — Had it not been for some suspicious food delivery orders, it would have taken months for family members to discover dozens of fraudulent purchases, which police eventually traced to a caregiver at an assisted-living facility in Lebanon.
Ashley Eskew, 31, is being charged in connection with two counts of theft and fraud in which she alleges using residents’ debit and credit cards to make unauthorized purchases worth thousands of dollars.
In one of the cases, Eskew used a local resident’s debit card to charge her auto insurance and car loan, according to court documents. In another, police said they used another resident’s debit and credit cards to make purchases at Amazon.com, Kohls.com and Kroger.
Between the two cases, she accumulated $15,455.97 in unauthorized charges, investigators said.
Eskew worked for CrownPointe of Lebanon, an assisted living community. She began employment there in May 2019 and worked there until May 2021, according to court documents. She was later reinstated in June 2022 before tendering her resignation two months later.
She served as a Qualified Medicines Assistant (QMA) and distributed medication to residents. Her job sometimes required her to enter residents’ rooms to deliver or administer their medication.
The reported thefts began in December 2020 with charges against Progressive Insurance. From December 2020 to June 2022, Eskew used a resident’s debit card to make more than $3,300 in insurance payments.
The same account was used to make payments to Global Lending Services for an auto loan for a 2017 Chevy Traverse, police said. These also began in December 2020 and continued through May 2022, totaling more than $10,000.
The daughter of two residents at the assisted living facility also noticed a pair of DoorDash purchases on her parents’ bank statements and reported them to police in July 2022. The woman said her parents don’t use DoorDash, “nor do they have the knowledge to do so.”
This prompted her to look through previous bank statements, where she noticed transactions for Progressive Insurance and Global Lending Services. She knew her parents didn’t have a car loan and thought the charges looked suspicious.
The charges came from her father’s debit card; he was unaware of this and had no recollection of giving anyone permission to use his card. His daughter believed an employee may have obtained her father’s debit card information and used it to make the unauthorized purchases.
Police were able to subpoena records of the accounts they kept with Eskew, whose name was on the loan application for the car loan and the policy number for the insurance. The DoorDash account also belonged to Eskew, police said.
When asked about the transactions, Eskew confirmed that she made monthly car and insurance payments. In a story police believe was fabricated, she said one of the people she cares for offered to help her pay for her car and gave her his debit card number. She claimed she “forgot” to switch the account back to her banking details, resulting in recurring charges.
“I just didn’t think about it,” Eskew told investigators when asked why the payments continued for nearly two years, according to court documents.
Eskew said she knew “she shouldn’t have done it.” Once she asked, “Can I just pay the money back?”
Police pointed out that the DoorDash transactions took place in July 2022 after car loan and insurance payments stopped. Unable to explain the DoorDash purchases, she tried to convince police that one of her children could be responsible.
Police told Eskew they didn’t think she was “100% truthful” in her retelling of what happened.
Another series of unauthorized charges involved another resident. Her daughter handles her finances and received a fraud alert from Chase about a $109.87 Denny’s Grubhub purchase. The woman knew her mother did not have access to Grubhub. Not long after, Chase sent another fraud alert for a Comcast fee totaling $233.02.
These purchases were made in August 2022, shortly after Eskew was reinstated. The daughter then learned that her mother couldn’t find her debit card or credit card, which she usually kept in her purse.
The debit card had been used to make an $825.21 payment to Lebanon Utilities, along with payments for Disney Plus and Amazon.com. The credit card was charged for a Lebanese restaurant, as well as Kohls.com, Kroger and Famous Footwear.
Further investigation traced the purchases to Eskew, the Lebanon Utilities account owner. She was billed for the Kohls.com orders and shipped to her address in Lebanon, police said. Investigators also learned that the Amazon.com account was in her husband’s name, even though the items were children’s items and clothing or women’s items and clothing, “suggesting that these orders were filled by Ashley Eskew.” were,” according to the court documents.
Amazon account billing information was updated on August 7, 2022.
Eskew resigned from her position at the assisted living facility on August 11, 2022. Initial hearings for both cases are scheduled for Tuesday.
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