Background checks a must

Local woman’s alleged crime spree underscores the importance of thorough screenings

There are lessons to learn from the recent news of a Magalia woman busted for allegedly stealing the identities of senior citizens.

For starters, there are scumbags in the world who make a career of preying on society’s most vulnerable members. Indeed, stealing from elderly people is like stealing from children. It’s lower than low. Second, and most important, loved ones must take caution when searching for and hiring caregivers. The same level of screening one would put into vetting a child care provider should be put into finding responsible, trustworthy and kind caregivers for our sick, disabled and elderly loved ones.

According to the Administration on Aging, individuals with dementia are especially at risk for elder abuse. In fact, one study found that about 50 percent of people with dementia experience abuse.

For those unfamiliar with the local case, 37-year-old Connie Lynn Ogle, of Magalia, has been charged with a laundry list of crimes related to financial abuses of senior citizens, including an 82-year-old woman (see “Criminal caregiver?” Downstroke, page 8).

Ogle was hired by the victim’s son after claiming to have extensive experience with in-home health care, according to the Chico Police Department. Investigators say she stole the woman’s personal information and opened credit cards in her name. She allegedly similarly defrauded at least nine other elderly people she’d been hired to care for and perhaps more that the police department is unaware of. Ogle’s also been charged with possession of marijuana for sale (85 pounds) and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

You read that right. She’s a felon. Her extensive record, which includes grand theft and multiple DUIs, is available for anyone to read on the Butte County Superior Court’s database at

The takeaway: Con artists are often slick talkers who seem trustworthy. Those seeking care providers for the elderly and infirm shouldn’t rely on word of mouth or first impressions. Background checks and references are a must. In such situations, due diligence is always in order.