$900K theft at home health care company hurts business, kids - FOX 35 News Orlando

$900K theft at home health care company hurts business, kids

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After accusing one of its own employees of stealing nearly $1 million, a home health care business in the metro tells FOX 9 News it may be forced to close.

The owner of Edelweiss Home Health Care, Inc. said her first concern is for her patients, many of whom are children; however, Edel Austin said she's devastated by the theft at her business.

Maple Grove police and the FBI are currently investigating Austin's former bookkeeper.

According to a signed affidavit, Lori Jo Mueller is under investigation after being accused of stealing more than $900,000 from Edelweiss Home Health. Austin said Mueller worked as the company's bookkeeper for nine years.

"Nobody ever had the slightest idea. She was always acting very professional," said Austin.

Julie Hagen's son, Lucas, relies on nurses from Edelweiss. Lucas has Down syndrome and another serious intestinal condition. Now, Hagen said she's worried about losing skilled nurses who are trained in her son's specialized case.

Hagen said, "The training of these nurses, the quality of these nurses has been extraordinary."

Austin said she's already cut staff and she's not sure how long she can keep Edelweiss open.

So far, Mueller has not been arrested or charged in this case. Investigators are still collecting evidence.

FOX 9 checked Mueller's record and found out she's also known as Lori Jo Peterson. Court documents show she was convicted of stealing more 60 thousand dollars from a Burnsville business back in 1997. FOX 9 was not able to reach Mueller for comment.

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