Aiken County Council Chairman’s wife named as suspect in identity fraud cases

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — The wife of Aiken County Council Chairman Gary Bunker is named as a suspect in at least two reports of identity fraud filed with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Those incidents involved employees at the Hospice Services of Georgia in Augusta.

“So we go on. Our patients, their families, and this community, they come first in the care that we give,” Sherri Stinson told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.

Stinson is the new Director of Clinical Services replacing Michele Bunker. She says following the recent incidents of fraud at her company, they immediately took action. “We hate that that happened,” she said. “We will do whatever is necessary as a company to protect our employees. If we know something has differently occurred then we protect it,” she added.

Hospice Services of Georgia speaking on recent incidents involving fraud.

One report filed in June, an identity theft protection company informed one victim that someone tried to get a loan using his name and birthdate. The person who filled out the application online didn’t submit it.

An incident took place in February during which someone tried to take out a $75 hundred dollar loan. The suspect “linked” Bunker’s checking account to the application. The victim said he didn’t report the incident at the time “due to not having enough information.”

“We can’t really comment on the allegations because they are not proven yet,” Stinson added.

The second report was filed earlier this month. The victim applied for insurance online through a financial company. She was told she had an active bank account with them. She later learned her personal information has been used with Bunker opening up the account in July 2018.

“Our information is behind two locked doors and it’s computerized so how you protect it is integrity,” Stinson shared.

But Hospice Services want the public to know that their loved ones are their number one priory. “We will be contacting every family member personally. We have no indication that anyone has been affected but we want to reassure them that the same people that have been in their homes every day, that they have accepted as an extended family member, the same way that we fight to protect their rights right now, we are doing it in the background protecting their personal information,” Stinson shared.

We’ve learned Bunker was placed on leave with pay to begin with but was later terminated.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office says that since it’s still an open investigation they are not able to comment.

Meanwhile, there are no allegations against Gary Bunker in the reports.

Shawn did reach out to him to get a statement on those allegations but he didn’t hear back.

Hospice Services of Georgia also issued the following statement:

Hospice Services of GA mission is to provide high quality compassionate care. Our approach is patient centered and service oriented as we strive to serve each family. Our goal is to enhance the quality of life for those nearing the end of life’s journey and for those who grieve.

Unfortunately, due to letters dated May 10, 2019 and May 17, 2019 regarding civil conspiracy, defamation of character, cease and desist any type of contact or communication with Mr. and Mrs. Bunker, sent from their legal counsel, J. Lewis Cromer, Hospice Services of GA and it’s owners and family members have not been able to comment regarding the allegations against Mrs. Bunker.

Mrs. Bunker has no longer been employed with Hospice Services of GA since May 5, 2019 and has since been employed by Alliance Hospice as Director of Clinical Services.

Hospice Services of GA, will help in any way to assist with the ongoing investigation and wishes for a resolution as quickly as possible.

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