Former Glendale Heights woman sentenced to 10 years for theft, financially exploiting elderly

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A former Glendale Heights woman accused of stealing almost $300,000 through elaborate schemes involving identity theft of more than two dozen victims and multiple fraudulent SBA Payment Protection Loans, was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison, authorities said.

Destiney Baker, 37, appeared in court where she entered a guilty plea to one count each of theft by deception, financial exploitation of the elderly and aggravated identity theft – elderly victim, according to a DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office news release.

Baker will begin serving her sentence immediately.

Baker, a CNA, met her victims through a staffing agency that employed her. Beginning in 2016 through February 2019, Baker stole banking information from her victims and used that information to gain access to her victims’ bank accounts. She also opened new accounts using her victims’ information, according to the release.

With her victims’ bank account information, Baker then stole hundreds of thousands of dollars and used the illegally gotten funds for, among other things, personal expenses including airline tickets to Hawaii for herself and three children, tuition for her children at a private school as well as veterinary services for her dog, according to the release.

In July 2019, Baker appeared in bond court where bond was set at $200,000, which she posted and was released. Baker violated the conditions of her bond and in February 2021, Baker once again appeared in Bond Court where bond was increased by $50,000. She again posted bond and was released.

In July 2022, Baker was accused of illegally obtaining more than $80,000 in loans from the SBA Payment Protection Program. Investigators learned that Baker had illegally applied for five government-sponsored PPP loans. In three of these loans, Baker used her name with a false Social Security number and in the other two Baker used other people’s names, including the name of a deceased individual who is a victim in one of the other cases against Baker, according to the release.

Baker appeared in Bond Court on July 15, 2022, where bond was set at $1 million with 10% to apply. She has remained in custody at the DuPage County Jail since that time. In all, Baker’s thefts totaled $294,706 and the court ordered her to pay that amount in restitution, according to the release.

“Ms. Baker’s greed knew no bounds and her heartless theft from her elderly victims as well as the federal government fed that greed,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in the release. “The systemic theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from elderly individuals who relied on her and trusted her and the theft of more than $80,000 intended to help businesses stay afloat during the pandemic is despicable. She caused immeasurable hardship for her victims and for that she will now spend a significant amount of time behind bars.”