Theft of Money from Caretaker Triggers Discussions on Background Checks

By Michael Klazema on 3/6/2012

A caregiver in California is accused of stealing at least $27,000 from an elderly patient and this is triggering talks on the need for more stringent background checks for those who care for others. Allison Bragger was the primary caregiver for an 86 year old woman who has dementia and arthritis. Bragger used her client’s credit cards, took money right from her bank account and also overcharged for her services. At this time, the state does not have adequate background check procedures according to the elderly woman’s family and they are pushing for changes.

Even when hired through an agency, caregivers in California are not required to go through extremely detailed background checks. Many of these organizations claim they put their employees through a background check, but records show most don’t. There are over 1200 home care companies currently operating in the state that are unregulated, which simply opens the door to having this incident repeat itself with someone else.

It is important to note that California home care companies that are contracted with the government are regulated and they must ensure that all of their employees are undergoing full criminal background checks including fingerprinting. The agencies that are not regulated are those that are private and unaffiliated with the government. Though of lot of these private agencies claim they regulate themselves and check on their staff that works in client’s homes, it is entirely optional and the state does not make sure that this is being done.

Lawmakers in the state say that crimes against the elderly, including theft, are very common in California with about 1500 incidents being reported each month. When complete criminal background checks are not done on employees of private home care agencies, this leaves the door wide open for further abuse.

Companies who want to take initiative before any law is passed can get excellent results by hiring a third party background check company like This company has several products that can enhance background checks that are being done on caregivers. One of these products is called the  US Offender OneSEARCH, checking for criminal activity that is imperative as a screening tool those who work with the elderly. This product will search sex offender records not only in California, but nationwide.

Taking the steps to make sure that all home care workers in the state are regulated will not only put all home care centers in line with each other, it will help make sure that elderly clients are kept safer.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services.  Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit

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