LEBANON, Ind. – Had it not been for some suspicious food delivery orders, it may have taken months for family members to discover dozens of fraudulent purchases that police eventually traced to a caregiver at a Lebanon assisted living facility.
Ashley Eskew, 31, faces theft and fraud charges in connection with a pair of cases in which she’s accused of using residents’ debit and credit cards to make unauthorized purchases totaling thousands of dollars.
In one of the cases, Eskew charged her car insurance and car loan to a resident’s debit card, according to court documents. In another, police said she used a different resident’s debit and credit cards to make purchases at Amazon.com, Kohls.com and Kroger.
Between the two cases, she racked up $15,455.97 in unauthorized charges, investigators said.
Eskew worked for CrownPointe of Lebanon, an assisted living community. She started employment there in May 2019 and worked there until May 2021, according to court documents. She was later rehired in June 2022 before tendering her resignation two months later.
She served a qualified medication aide (QMA), passing out medicine to residents. Her job sometimes required her to enter residents’ rooms to deliver or administer their medications.
The reported thefts began in December 2020 with charges to Progressive Insurance. From December 2020 through June 2022, Eskew used a resident’s debit card to make more than $3,300 in insurance payments.
The same account was used to make payments to Global Lending Services for a car loan on a 2017 Chevy Traverse, police said. Those also began in December 2020 and continued through May 2022, totaling more than $10,000.
The daughter of two residents at the assisted living facility also noticed a pair of DoorDash purchases on her parents’ bank statements and reported them to police in July 2022. The woman said her parents don’t use DoorDash, “nor do they have the knowledge to do so.”
That led her to look through previous bank statements, where she noticed the transactions for Progressive Insurance and Global Lending Services. Her parents didn’t have a car loan, she knew, and thought the charges looked suspicious.
The charges were from her father’s debit card; he had no knowledge of them and didn’t recall giving anyone permission to use his card. His daughter believed a staff member may have obtained her father’s debit card information and used it to make the unauthorized purchases.
Police were able to subpoena records related to the accounts, leading them to Eskew, whose name was on the credit application for the car loan and the policy number for the insurance. The DoorDash account also belonged to Eskew, police said.
When asked about the transactions, Eskew confirmed she made monthly car and insurance payments. In a story police believe was fabricated, she said one of the people she takes care of offered to help her make her car payment and gave her his debit card number. She claimed she “forgot” to change the account back to her banking information, resulting in the recurring charges.
“I just didn’t think about it,” Eskew told investigators when asked why the payments continued for nearly two years, according to court documents.
Eskew said she knew “she should not have done” it. At one point, she asked, “Can I just pay the money back?”
Police pointed out the DoorDash transactions happened in July 2022, after the car loan and insurance payments had stopped. She couldn’t explain the DoorDash purchases and attempted to convince police one of her children may have been responsible for them.
Police told Eskew they didn’t believe she was being “100% truthful” in her retelling of what happened.
Another set of unauthorized charges involved a different resident. Her daughter handles her financials and received a fraud alert from Chase about a $109.87 Grubhub purchase from Denny’s. The woman knew her mother didn’t have access to Grubhub. Not long after that, Chase sent another fraud alert for a Comcast charge totaling $233.02.
These purchases were made in August 2022, which would have been shortly after Eskew had been rehired. The daughter then learned her mother couldn’t locate her debit card or her credit card, which she usually kept in her purse.
The debit card had been used to make a payment of $825.21 to Lebanon Utilities, along with payments for Disney Plus and Amazon.com. The credit card had charges for a Lebanon restaurant along with others for Kohls.com, Kroger and Famous Footwear.
Further investigation traced the purchases to Eskew, who was the account holder for Lebanon Utilities. The Kohls.com orders had been billed to her and shipped to her address in Lebanon, police said. Investigators also learned the Amazon.com account was under her husband’s name, although the items were for children’s items and clothing or women’s items and clothing, “indicating that these orders were completed by Ashley Eskew,” according to court documents.
Billing information for the Amazon account had been updated on Aug. 7, 2022.
Eskew resigned from her position at the assisted living facility on Aug. 11, 2022. Initial hearings for both cases are scheduled for Tuesday.