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Woman is extradited in St. Petersburg nursing home ID theft case

A woman accused of using the identities of patients at a St. Petersburg nursing home to fund a $100,000 shopping spree was extradited from Michigan on Thursday.

Rhonda Felicia Gills, 40, of Comanche Avenue in Tampa faces one count of organized fraud and 16 counts of criminal use of personal identification information. She was being held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $290,000 bail.

According to witness statements, Gills and Natasha Tanksley, a former employee at the Apollo Health & Rehabilitation Center in St. Petersburg, used names, birth dates, addresses and Social Security numbers from 15 former residents and others to open and use credit card accounts from January to July 2007.

Tanksley, 33, of Fourth Avenue in St. Petersburg was arrested Sept. 11, 2007. She is still awaiting trial.

The credit cards were used at Rooms to Go, Sears, JCPenney and Victoria's Secret stores throughout west central Florida.

The women typically opened accounts or added authorized users to existing accounts with the names "Latasha Beauford," "Natasha Tanksey," "Patricia Taylor" and "Tasha Tanksley."

The two women were shown making purchases on several store surveillance tapes.

One video shows Tanksley opening an account and using a card at JCPenney, authorities said. At the time, the victim was in a coma, according to a witness statement.

St. Petersburg police Detective Chris McClure said in a sworn statement that he showed Apollo employees pictures of two women using a resident's account at a Sears Essentials store in Clearwater. Employees identified one of the women as Tanksley.

After her arrest, Tanksley told McClure that Gills was the other woman on the tape and that she had gone with her during the shopping trips.

A warrant was issued for Gills on Jan. 24.

Calls left with family members of Gills and Tanksley were not returned.

Jackie Alexander can be reached at jdalexander@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4167.

Woman is extradited in St. Petersburg nursing home ID theft case 06/06/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 1:43pm]
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