Metro-East News

Man accused of stealing retirement home residents’ IDs had been convicted before

A former St. Paul’s Senior Community employee who is accused of stealing the identity of residents and using them to open utilities accounts was convicted of a similar charge 13 years ago.

St. Paul’s director said the retirement community conducted a background check on the worker, Christopher Rhodes, but it’s unclear whether the previous charges were discovered during that check.

Tammy vonYeast, executive director at St. Paul’s in Belleville, said it is the retirement community’s policy to run background checks on all new employees and routinely during their employment.

“The safety, security of the residents and guests are very important to St. Paul’s Senior Community,” vonYeast said.

VonYeast would not say, however, if they knew about Rhodes’ 2005 conviction before they hired him. She said it’s company policy to not share details of current or past employees.

Rhodes was charged in mid-January with three counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. In 2005, he was convicted of using patient information to set up credit cards at Greenwood Terrace Nursing Home in Swansea. He was sentenced to 37 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

After the fraud and identity theft charges were filed, Tyler Troutman, chief operating officer of St. Andrew’s Resources for Senior Systems, which manages St. Paul’s, issued a statement on Rhodes’ charges.

“St. Paul’s Senior Community has offered those affected by this incident free identity theft protection services to help monitor any unexpected activity. These services include credit report monitoring and fully managed identity theft recovery services,” Troutman said in the statement. “Although we are not aware of anyone’s data being used, we are proceeding out of an abundance of caution in order to protect those we serve.

“As a result of this incident, we have reviewed our processes to prevent this type of situation from recurring.”

Rhodes is accused of using the identities of multiple residents to set up gas, electric, water and satellite television service at his own residence. He did this for five years, according to a criminal indictment filed in the U.S. District Court of Southern Illinois.