April 13, 2023
Two former employees at a medical practice in West Chester have been charged with stealing more than $450,000 from their boss and attempting to sell land he owned valued at more than $1 million, Chester County prosecutors said.
Mikayla Zeigler, 22, of West Chester, and Danielle King, 25, of Chadds Ford, were arrested this week following an investigation into the financial records of Dr. Ramarao Naidu's practice.
The two women allegedly funneled more than $100,000 to their boyfriends and family members. They also spent the stolen money on personal expenses like hair care, tanning salons, health care, rent, student loans, furniture, vet bills, tattoos and trips to Wildwood and Avalon, investigators said.
Zeigler and King both worked for Naidu between October 2020 and August 2021, during which time they managed daily business operations. They allegedly convinced Naidu to switch to an electronic banking system, which gave them direct access to Naidu's financials accounts and transactions — including checks, debit cards, account numbers and credit cards.
The money was stolen from a total of four bank accounts and six credit cards belonging to Naidu, police said.
The two properties spent nearly a month on the market before one of Naidu's family members contacted the realtor to have them removed, investigators said.
Investigators also learned that earlier in May 2021, Zeigler allegedly emailed Naidu's attorney in an attempt to have his will changed. Zeigler, again acting as Naidu, requested that the attorney adjust Naidu's estate plan to reduce the amount of money left to his family upon his death and give Zeigler 85% control of the remaining portion of the estate, prosecutors said.
Zeigler and King both abruptly left their jobs in August 2021. The criminal investigation began after Naidu reported the trail of unauthorized payments and correspondence to police.
Both defendants are charged with theft by unlawful taking, conspiracy, dealing in unlawful proceeds, forgery, identity theft and related offenses. Zeigler is also charged with allegedly stealing $7,000 from another employee at the medical practice during the same timeframe.
"Their greed is a cautionary tale to remind the community to put financial safeguards in place to prevent fraud and theft," Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said.