When a family sought help in caring for an ailing family member, they did not expect him to become the next victim of a thief with a long criminal history.
Harold Demoss, Jr. is a retired federal judge fighting cancer. His family hired Top Notch Healthcare Assistance of Houston, to provide him with in-home care.
After an incomplete background check missed Leatrice Monique Johnson’s criminal history, Top Notch sent her into Judge Demoss’ home as a caregiver.
Within weeks of Johnson’s assignment to care for the judge, a family member notified police that $25,000 was missing from the judge’s checking account.
Johnson has been arrested and charged with writing a series of unauthorized checks on Demoss’ account in November and December of 2015. At the time of her arrest, she was found to be in possession of a check drawn on Judge Demoss’ account in the amount of $3,742.
At the time of her arrest, Johnson was serving five years probation for theft and had a warrant for her arrest for a probation violation.
Johnson’s extensive criminal history included:
- Felony theft of more than $7,500 in a Medicaid fraud scheme for which she was sentenced to five years probation in 2012.
- Misdemeanor theft by check for which she was sentenced to sixty days in jail in 2009. Three other theft by check cases were dismissed as part of her plea of guilty in this case.
- Misdemeanor theft by check for which she was sentenced to ten days in jail in 2006.
- Felony credit card abuse (using someone else’s credit card without their consent) for which she received six months in jail in 2001.
- Misdemeanor criminal mischief for which she received 20 days in jail in 1997.
- Felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for which she received seven years probation in 1996.
- Felony welfare fraud for which she received ten years probation in 1995.
She has used a number of aliases when committing past crimes and apparently did so when applying to work with Top Notch Healthcare Assistance.
According to the Harris County District Attorney’s office, Johnson was working under an alias and provided her employer an incorrect drivers license number. When asked by a KPRC, Channel 2 News correspondent, Top Notch’s CEO said that “under the ID that we had, this individual never showed up”.
To cover their negative histories, criminals can easily obtain fake IDs that appear to be legitimate. When relying on cheap, instant criminal background checks, employers often fail to identify such identity fraud.
The first step in any background check should be corroboration of the identity of the individual on whom research is being conducted. Such research should be conducted by professional investigators trained to recognize signs of fraud and to ensure thorough and accurate research is conducted.