An Einstein Bagels worker was arrested Wednesday (April 11) in the Vaughn Center on two felony fraud charges.
This was Eureka Dawannva Patterson’s seventh arrest in five years, and her second since working at UT. Wednesday marked the fourth time she had been arrested for fraud. Other past charges ranged from petty theft to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Some students expressed outrage that such an employee was working on campus. Sodexho General Manager Amy Truong said Patterson lied on her application, failing to disclose a history of felonies. Background checks were not performed, but they will now, Truong said.
Wednesday was the second day in a row that someone associated with Sodexho was arrested in the Vaughn Center. Tuesday night, a man recognized as a former Sodexho employee was arrested for trespassing.
PATTERSON’S ARREST Around 11 a.m. Wednesday, Patterson was arrested in the Vaughn Center on two fraud charges and three misdemeanors.
Patterson, 27, was escorted to an unmarked police car outside Vaughn, attracting a small congregation of curious Sodexho employees.
Truong was notified of the arrest during a meeting. Truong went outside to calm down workers and let the police do their job, she said.
Patterson waited for about one hour until a caged police car came and took her to TPD. She was released later that day on a $6,500 bond.
Patterson’s felony charges included the fraudulent use of a credit card over $100 and fraudulent use of personal information. It is an unclear whether someone at UT was a victim.
The misdemeanor charges included first degree petty theft, giving a false name to a law enforcement officer and possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis.
HER CRIMINAL BACKGROUND In the last five years, Patterson has had six arrests with a laundry list of fourteen separate charges, according to arrest records. Before joining Sodexho, Patterson was in custody for 17 days in October 2003, charged with assault with a bottle, considered a deadly weapon.
In the previous year, she had been arrested every three to four months, mostly for forgery and grand theft.
Online booking records only go back five years, but her first arrest on record was in July 2002, when she was in custody for three days on charges of forging checks and grand theft.
Less than four months later, in November 2002, she served 22 days for two counts of petty theft.
In both March and July of 2003, she was arrested for forgery and grand theft, serving 16 and 18 days, respectively.
Three months later was her aggravated assault charge.
Before her arrest Wednesday, Patterson was most recently arrested on West Shore Boulevard last Independence Day and charged with possession of marijuana and giving a false name.
BACKGROUND CHECKS NOT PERFORMED Sodexho does not initiate background checks on employees but requires candidates to disclose if they have been convicted of a felony. Patterson violated this policy by checking the “no” box on the application. Under Dining Services’ policies, employees must notify General Manager Amy Truong if convicted of a felony. Every summer, Sodexho lays off 80 percent of their staff in response to the student population going on break. Employees are allowed to return in the fall without re-applying. Patterson started working at UT on August 18, 2004. She was laid off on July 27, 2006 and was eligible to return on August 25, 2006.
Charged with two felonies, Patterson was fired. It is written in the Sodexho Policy Handbook for employees that if a worker is charged with a felony, he or she will be laid off immediately.
MORE CHECKS PLANNED Truong is unclear of the details, but she plans to meet with staff regarding application accuracy.
“In the future, we will come up with a system to make sure we verify that information,” Truong said. “We’ve learned from [this situation.]” Sodexho will be checking all 160 employees’ applications for verification.
If falsified information is discovered, Dining Services will contact Human Resources regarding the necessary action, she said.