A onetime personal care attendant with a criminal history admitted that she stole the identity of girl who moved into her home as a client, then used her information for more than two years to open a licensed day care in St. Paul, buy a home and get a driver's license.
Charnell A. Hudson, 40, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in St. Paul to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft in a scheme that stretched from mid-2008 until late 2010.
According to the plea agreement:
In 2005, Hudson was a personal care attendant for the elderly and disabled in the Twin Cities and was hired to care for a girl. In 2006, the girl moved in with Hudson, who assumed full responsibility for her care and had access to all of the client's personal identifying documents.
When the girl moved out the next year, Hudson kept all of her identifying documents and information, and used her Social Security card and birth certificate to obtain a Minnesota driver's license and a title for a vehicle.
Having a criminal history that included convictions for theft and credit card fraud, Hudson used the girl's identity in 2008 to establish a day care in the 1900 block of Nevada Avenue E. called Lil Dumplin's Daycare, which allowed her to receive $70,000 from Ramsey County for providing services.
The county conducts background checks on daycare providers. Tami Baker-Olson, manager of Family Support Services in Ramsey County, said they conduct a social services check and look into criminal histories going back five years. If something raises a red flag, the county also runs fingerprints through the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension database.
Baker-Olson said she did not have specific information about Hudson's background check, but noted that the case has changed county procedures.
"As a result of this situation, we do now require a copy of the driver's license and a copy of the Social Security card at the time of application," she said.
In March 2010, Hudson also used the girl's identity to buy a $153,000 home in St. Paul and make the monthly payments.
Hudson faces up to 20 years in prison on the mail fraud count and a minimum of two years for aggravated identity theft. Fines and forfeitures are also possible. Sentencing has yet to be scheduled.
Staff writer Chao Xiong contributed to this report. Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482