WESTCHESTER – Danbury, Connecticut resident Chantel Chenault, 46, has been indicted by a Westchester grand jury on charges of grand larceny and identity theft for stealing more than $300,000 from a 95-year-old woman with dementia while she was under Chenault’s care.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James says Chenault was a caseworker with Westchester County Adult Protective Services (APS) from March 2017 through April 2022 and transferred more than a half-million dollars from the victim’s retirement accounts to the woman’s checking account and would then bring the woman to the bank several times per month to make withdrawals.
Chenault also regularly used the woman’s ATM card at casinos without permission. Chenault was arraigned Friday in Westchester County Court on two felony counts of grand larceny, felony identity theft, and misdemeanor official misconduct. Her next appearance in court is scheduled for June 15, 2023.
“Chantel Chenault used her position as a caregiver to steal from someone who trusted her and who couldn’t protect herself. This betrayal harmed the victim and harmed the reputation of the Westchester County Adult Protective Services,” said Attorney General James, adding “All New Yorkers deserve safe and secure services to support autonomy later in life.”
“There is nothing more insidious than exploiting the most vulnerable among us, especially when families put their trust in a caseworker they believe will treat their loved one with the respect and dignity they deserve,” said Suzanne Miles-Gustave, acting commissioner, New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). “OCFS has zero tolerance for this type of abuse and referred this case directly to Attorney General James’ office for investigation. I commend the subsequent caseworker who reported the alleged criminal activity to the appropriate authorities immediately. Reinforcing what we know in OCFS, the vast majority of human services professionals approach their work with the utmost care and compassion.”
Chenault became the elderly woman’s caseworker in 2017. As the woman’s physical and mental health declined, Chenault was responsible for arranging home health aides from a third-party provider to provide care. Chenault went on medical leave in March 2022, and the new caseworker at APS assigned to the elderly woman noticed there had been a substantial drop in her assets in just a matter of months. Further investigation revealed that the woman’s bank accounts and retirement accounts were entirely depleted and as a result, she could no longer afford home health care. A forensic audit of her bank accounts identified a pattern of suspicious withdrawals and transfers, and the use of her ATM card at times when she was homebound. In total, Chenault is alleged to have stolen more than $300,000 from the woman over a five-year period.