by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Gwinnett County Police said a Winder woman stole from an elderly couple in desperate need of her services.
Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh spent three days researching the story after reviewing the Gwinnett County arrest warrant. Gwinnett County police have charged Tracy Barrett with elder abuse and financial identity access fraud.
At least two local families hired Barrett, 41, when they were in need of a caretaker. Police said Barrett preyed upon that need. The victims' families said they met Barrett after she responded to online and newspaper ads.
"The suspect in this case took advantage of that to work her way into her home, earn their trust," said Gwinnett County police Cpl. Jake Smith.
Gwinnett County police said an elderly Buford couple hired Barrett in July. Three months later, their bank questioned them about $6,000 in unusual credit card charges.
"The suspect's husband had actually made a withdrawal from the victim's bank account," Smith said.
And Barrett's arrest warrant said she stole their personal information to open a new Chase credit card.
Barrett turned herself in to the Gwinnett County Jail on Tuesday night, but bonded out shortly afterward.
Kavanaugh dug into her criminal records and found another pending elder abuse case in Walton County. According to a county police report, the victim's son said Barrett stole up to $200,000 from his 95-year-old parent's bank account. A grand jury there indicted Barrett on 21 counts in April. There were also numerous arrests for bad checks in Barrow, Hall and Jackson counties.
Kavanaugh tracked down the family in Gwinnett County and the one from Walton. They said their experience with Barrett not only cost them money, but also peace of mind. Both families said they were too afraid to go on camera because Barrett knows how vulnerable they are.
Over the phone, Barrett told Kavanaugh the charges against her are false and referred all other questions to her attorney. Channel 2 has not yet heard back from the attorney.