Report: Employee stole thousands from patients, hospital



LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Leesburg police said a hospital employee used her position to steal thousands of dollars from the hospital and patients.

According to her arrest report, Ella Stevens admitted to stealing at least $5,000, and when police asked her why, she told them she was going through a divorce and needed the extra cash.

As patient financial services director, Ella Stevens was entrusted with money belonging to Leesburg Regional Medical Center and its patients. According to police, she broke that trust time and time again.

"You sign off on things you come in with, and then it's gone when you leave. Yeah, I'd be devastated," said Tammy Parker, whose brother is a patient at the hospital.

Parker said it's especially upsetting this could happen in a hospital.

An internal investigation into money missing from multiple deposit bags led hospital supervisors to Stevens and to a search of her desk.

Supervisors said when they opened a drawer they found a deposit bag that should have contained $716 but had only $20 inside. They said a patient valuables bag indicating it held $2,800 in cash was empty.

According to police, when Stevens was questioned, she also admitted to taking another $1,600 from a cafeteria deposit bag.

Channel 9 asked the hospital about Steven's status as an employee but has not received an answer.

She is out of jail on bond.