2nd suspect booked in scheme against elderly

BUFORD - Kathleen Gatch recalls the registered nurse in charge of her at Brookside Assisted Living as aloof, harsh and unconcerned with her patients' well-being.

Gwinnett police call the same nurse a criminal.

For years, Gatch worked as a licensed practical nurse under Iniabel Ferrer, 36, a registered nurse who police arrested this month for allegedly scheming to steal personal finances from six Alzheimer's patients. Police say Ferrer was aided by her beau, Jose Luis Ciuro, 44, who was arrested Tuesday night on charges of identity fraud.

Rumors circulated among the nursing home's staff that Ferrer had tried to bilk demented residents of thousands of dollars, said Gatch, a 10-year employee terminated by Ferrer for failing to empty a bedside commode.

"The staff was suspicious when she was not staying in the room with her intended patient," Gatch said. "We personally got to know these patients, and when they didn't get good care, we got offended."

The Buford couple remained in the Gwinnett County Jail on Wednesday, each held on more than $67,000 bond.

Police said Ferrer stole Social Security numbers and medical information from six elderly patients at the Buford nursing home. She faces six counts of exploitation of a disabled adult and financial identity fraud.

Her partner, Ciuro, had avoided police who'd secured warrants for his arrest Aug. 13. It was unclear "exactly where he was apprehended or if he was hiding," Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman said.

Police were tipped off to the alleged scheme when someone came forward claiming Ferrer and Ciuro said they needed help accessing the victims' bank accounts via computer. Police checked with the nursing home and found that Ferrer didn't have permission to access patients' personal information.

A manager at the nursing home has declined comment.

Police say they found documents with personal information for the six elderly patients in the couple's possession.

Police are investigating how Ferrer allegedly got her hands on that information.