71° Good Afternoon
71° Good Afternoon
NewsNew York

State police identify suspect in theft from terminally ill woman

New York State Police are seeking information regarding

New York State Police are seeking information regarding the location of Erin M. O'Hanlon, 34, of Derby, Conn. Officials say she stole a terminally ill woman's identity and fraudulently withdrew $9,200 from her Chase bank account. Credit: Facebook

The woman suspected of stealing the identity and money of a fashion executive dying of cancer has been identified as a Connecticut resident who is implicated in seven other similar cases, New York State Police in Farmingdale said Tuesday in asking for the public's help to find her.

Erin M. O'Hanlon, 34, fled her apartment in Derby on Monday, hours before New York State Police arrived to arrest her, but she may be in the New York City area, said Investigator Charles Fontanelli, who went to her home.

"I think she knew it was just a matter of time before we found her," he said.

She is wanted on grand larceny and identity theft charges.

Scores of calls and an anonymous tip pointed investigators to the woman whose image police said was captured this past fall at Chase branches in Commack and Freeport withdrawing $9,200 from the account of Kate Sullivan, 50, a Manhattan marketing executive who had worked for designers Kimora Lee Simmons and Diane von Furstenberg. It happened just days before Sullivan died on Sept. 28.

O'Hanlon is suspected of stealing about $50,000 from eight victims in the past 12 months, all from Long Island and New York City, Fontanelli said. That includes $9,200 from Sullivan, police said. She also charged about $4,000 on credit cards opened in Sullivan's name, police said.

The victim's sister, Sarah Sullivan of Los Angeles, said the family doesn't know O'Hanlon.

"We're waiting to find out if she had access to hospital records somehow," she said.

Sarah Sullivan, whose name was also on her sister's bank account, said she no longer gives out their Social Security numbers at medical offices, saying it's unnecessary and exposes people to identity theft.

"It's a loophole that needs to be handled," said Sarah Sullivan, a red-carpet makeup artist in Los Angeles. "When you're sitting there and you worry, 'Could someone be going through my bank right now and taking my money?' that's scary."

Sullivan said a Chase bank manager had called her sister, who was dying in the hospital, to ask if she had just tried to withdraw money.

Last week, after spreading the bank surveillance images on social media, Sarah Sullivan said she could not grieve for her sister properly with the identity thief on the loose.

But yesterday she said she was somewhat relieved that the woman in the bank footage has been identified.

"I'm happy to fly in when she goes to court," Sullivan said.

Police ask anyone with information to call 631-756-3300.

More news