NY nurse stole dying coronavirus patient's credit card to buy groceries and gas worth $60, say police
The patient's daughter discovered the charges when she received her father's credit card statement and reported it to Staten Island Police
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: A New York city nurse is facing charges for stealing a dying coronavirus patient's credit card, the police have said. The daughter of the patient said that Danielle Conti, a 43-year-old nurse at Staten Island University Hospital, used the stolen credit card to buy groceries and gasoline worth $60.
Nurse Conti has been charged with grand larceny, petty larceny, and criminal possession of stolen property after ringing up the $60 dollar charge on two of Anthony Catapano's credit cards, while he was hospitalized with coronavirus, per the New York Police Department.
Catapano, 70, had been undergoing treatment after getting infected by COVID-19 at the hospital, his daughter Tara Catapano told CNN. He had been stable when the theft occurred but died three days later, on April 12, due to complications from the virus.
"I was in shock and disbelief," Tara Catapano said to CNN. "Obviously, I knew it had to be a hospital employee because visitors weren't really allowed."
Tara Catapano, 37, discovered the charges and reported it to Staten Island Police on 28 April. She had been paying her father's bills since her mother's passing in 2014 and said she didn't track her father's spending regularly. However, her suspicions arose when she received her father's credit card statement after he died, and it said he'd made a purchase for gasoline - which she said her father always paid in cash. She then noticed that charges were dated April 9, when her father had been "in the hospital, literally fighting for his life."
"I can’t believe a person could do something like that to someone fighting for his life," Tara Catapano said to the New York Daily News. "This is a nurse who took an oath to treat, protect, and save patients. It’s disgusting ... Never in a million years did I expect any of this to happen." She said the police showed her surveillance footage from a ShopRite which showed Conti swiping her father's American Express Card to pay for groceries.
"She is a despicable human being. How would she feel if somebody did this to her parents when they were gravely ill? I hope she gets what she deserves, and loses her license and her job," Catapano added. The charges were rung up at a gas station and a ShopRite on April 9, the same day Catapano's father's condition had worsened and he had to be moved into a ventilator unit. "A total of $60.23. That’s what she risked her job for. She took total advantage of my father’s condition. I’m sure she assumed he wasn’t going to make it, and his family wouldn’t notice", said Catapano.
Conti who was arrested by the police on 7 May, has been suspended from the hospital where she has been working since 2007 and faces possible termination. "Danielle Conti has been temporarily suspended and faces termination in response to the felony charges," said Christian Preston, the director of public affairs for Staten Island University Hospital in a statement provided to CNN. "We are working closely with the law-enforcement authorities and the hospital is conducting its own investigation," he added.
Conti has no prior arrest, in her records. Catapano told CNN that she wanted to know why Conti did what she allegedly did. "I would want to know why she took advantage of my father while he was on his deathbed," she said. "And I would want to know how she would feel if someone did that to a loved one of hers -- whether it was a parent or grandparent. I don't think when people do these things they think of it like that.
"But he is my father, he is a person," Tara Catapano said. "I am disgusted [Conti was] supposed to be taking care of him and instead ... stole from him."