Blountville home nurse charged with stealing patients' credit cards

Rain Smith • Feb 12, 2010 at 12:00 AM

A Blountville home nurse has been arrested for fraudulently using her patients' credit cards, as well as her boyfriend's.

The woman was arrested during an interview with police on Thursday, in which she brought her purse containing the stolen cards with her to the Sheriff's Office.

According to the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office, Mary Ellen Browning, 45, of Blountville, was arrested on several felony charges. Police say they received a report of identity theft on Jan. 20, and again on Jan. 22, from a married couple claiming they were billed for purchases they had not made.

The Sheriff's Office says Browning, the victims' home nurse, was developed as a suspect. In addition to the original reports of credit card fraud, she is also believed to have used her patients' personal information to make other purchases from the Internet.

On Thursday Browning was called to the Sheriff's Office for an interview in regards to the identity thefts. She consented to a search of her purse, where investigators found, "several credit cards belonging to the victims and others," according to a press release.

Police say one of those other victim's was Browning's boyfriend, who stated he had not authorized her to use his credit card.

Browning is charged with seven counts of identity theft, seven counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and one count of forgery. Her bond was set at $50,000 and as of Friday afternoon she remained jailed in the Sullivan County Correctional Facility.

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