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Chesterfield woman accused of embezzling $800,000 had history of fraud 

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CHESTERFIELD, Va.  - The woman accused of embezzling $800,000 from Virginia Physicians for Women had a history of fraud, according to court records obtained by CBS 6.

Edith Harris was arrested this week for the alleged embezzlement scheme.  According to police, Harris accrued money by taking returns intended to be sent as refunds to patients.

However, this is not Harris' first run in with the law. In 2007, Harris was convicted of welfare fraud and forced to pay nearly $700 in legal fees.

In 1989, Harris was accused of fraud in the City of Richmond, but that case was dismissed.

Court records show Harris was also forced to resign from a teaching position mid-2000 and that she also had a history of financial hardship.

Cases were once brought against Harris by former landlords, dentists and credit agency regarding unpaid debt.

Target once took Harris to court for a debt of $3,000.

When CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George went to Harris' house Tuesday she was home, but had a  friend tell CBS 6 that she would not be commenting. Harris is currently out on bond.

Some patients have asked how someone with such history could be allowed to work in the billing department for a healthcare provider.

"This is an ongoing investigation and we cannot comment on confidential personnel matters at this time," said Ronald Milligan, Chief Operating Officer, Virginia Physicians for Women.

Private investigators weighed in on the employment process.

"They didn't vet her, they didn't run a background check," said private eye Jeff Pichhi.

Pichhi said none of Harris' past criminal history would be listed as a felony on an employment record, but would be quickly discovered through a background check. He charges around $125, but said more businesses are cutting back to save costs.

"When you are talking about 125 dollars versus 800 thousand dollars it's a drop in the bucket," Pichhi said.