Feds: New Britain home health aide defrauded client

Photo of Tara O'Neill
A file photo of handcuffs on a table.

A file photo of handcuffs on a table.

Rafe Swan, Getty Images / Contributed Photo

NEW BRITAIN — A local home health aide was arrested this week on a federal criminal complaint after stealing money from one of her clients, according to prosecutors.

Philliann Barnett, 42, of New Britain, was taken into custody on Tuesday and charged with bank fraud stemming from the theft of money from a disabled client, prosecutors said.

If convicted, bank fraud carries a 30-year maximum prison term.

Barnett is free on $75,000 bond and is subject to GPS monitoring. The judge ordered Barnett, a citizen of Jamaica, to surrender her passport. She was also told to comply with her state probation conditions, which include not being allowed to work as a home health aide.

Authorities said Barnett has a history of using aliases, including “Phillianne Barnett,” “Susie Barnett,” “Nikki Daley” and “Susie Susie.”

In 2003, Barnett was convicted on a federal charge after officials said she defrauded an individual with cerebral palsy. In that case, authorities said Barnett opened credit cards in the victim’s name and used them for personal expenses.

Barnett was also convicted in Connecticut Superior Court on larceny and identity theft offenses after authorities said she defrauded an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s disease.

On Aug. 31, 2020, after serving five years in jail, Barnett was released from state custody.

While on probation, Barnett — under the name Philliann Burke — applied to be a home health aide for a company that serviced disabled veterans getting benefits from the Department of Veteran Affairs, federal prosecutors said. When she applied, officials said she did not disclose her criminal history. She started the job on Sept. 11, 2020.

In November 2020, while caring for a disabled veteran, Barnett is accused of forging the veteran’s signature on a check she deposited into her account, prosecutors said.

In February, law enforcement investigating Barnett learned about a separate complaint from a resident of an assisted living facility in the Waterbury area where she worked, officials said. Police said Barnett was accused of stealing money from the person’s checking account through a cellphone application.

Anyone who believes they could have been victimized by Barnett is urged to call 781-687-3417.