NORWALK, Conn. (CBS/WCBS) Kimberly Graham, of Norwalk, Conn., became suspicious of her son's new autism therapist, Stacey Lore, when her son, Nathan, seemed to be getting worse instead of better.
After Graham and a few other parents complained to the school district about Lore, who ran Spectrum Kids LLC, a consulting firm for autistic children hired by the Norwalk School System, Superintendent Sal Corda filed a complaint, in March 2009, about the credentials that Lore purported to have. Norwalk Police started investigating.
What they say they found was shocking, but didn't surprise Margaret Bustell, whose 5-year-old son Henry was also receiving care from Lore's company.
"The therapists stopped showing up," Margaret told CBS affiliate WCBS. "They were claiming that they weren't being paid, that their checks were bouncing, and yet, Stacey was driving around in a new Mercedes - so something wasn't making sense."
On June 4, 2009 police, with the assistance of the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, executed search warrants for Lore's banking records and her home in lake Carmel, NY, about 35 miles north of Norwalk according to the Journal News.
Investigators discovered that, far from having the doctorate and decades of experience working with autistic children that she reportedly claimed, the 33-year-old Lore didn't finish high school, and instead received a high-school equivalency diploma from the Board of Cooperative Educational Services in New York state.
Lore was taken into custody Sunday and faces three counts each of first-degree larceny, second-degree forgery and criminal impersonation. Authorities allege that she stole more than $150,000 from Norwalk schools and more than $33,000 from parents of autistic kids.
Lore is being held on $200,000 bail and is due back in court April 14, she has waived extradition to Connecticut.
Coincidentally, today is World Autism Awareness Day as declared by the United Nations. The day attempts to raise awareness of the disorder and the treatments available for children afflicted by it.