Unlicensed caregiver of incapacitated elderly man arrested for theft of thousands of dollars
An unlicensed caregiver from Craigslist was arrested and accused of stealing thousands of dollars from an elderly and incapacitated 89-year-old man, ABC reports.
The suspect, 51-year-old Christine Garthright was arrested and taken into custody on Sept. 23 after a four-month investigation by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) in Arizona.
ABC says suspicions against the former caregiver first arose in May when a YCSO deputy met with the elderly man and his daughter in Dewey, Arizona, after the daughter, who admittedly had not been monitoring her father’s financial situation for several years, discovered odd transactions on his account. At that point, the man's daughter began to wonder if Garthright was financially exploiting her father.
The man had recently suffered a stroke, is hard of hearing, unable to see well and also has occasional memory loss, so he relied on Garthright to handle many of his daily activities.
“Garthright began self-appointed unlicensed caregiving duties about 4 years ago after travelling from Maryland,” said the YCSO in a statement detailing the case. “The 89-year-old victim requested and allowed her to work as a ‘live-in’ rent free in lieu of a salary. It was learned during this time the victim bought Garthright a car, bought Garthright’s daughter a car and paid her daughter’s rent in Washington state. Additionally, the victim paid several thousand dollars to fix Garthright’s teeth and occasionally paid to allow Garthright to visit her daughter in Washington.”
But eventually, the man's daughter examined her father’s finances and discovered Garthright had written a total of 26 unauthorized checks to herself and another eight unauthorized checks to her daughter between June 2018 and May 2020 which added up to more than $11,000.
“She also used the victim’s ATM card without permission to withdraw cash and according the victim, stole several thousands of dollars from his safe,” said the YCSO.
Authorities also allege that Garthright had become verbally abusive and even struck the elderly man in the face when he refused to provide money to her.
Detectives caught up with Garthright in July, but she claimed that all of the 'suspicious' financial transactions were authorized by the man she was caring for.
Subsequent attempts to reach Garthright were unsuccessful until she called detectives on Sept. 21 and said she planned to come back to Arizona to see the man she'd once cared for, but she didn't explain why she wanted to visit him.
“On September 23, 2020, Garthright did return to the victim’s home and was arrested by the detective,” said the YCSO. “Garthright also knew she had been ordered to stay away from the victim several weeks prior or could be arrested for trespassing and she ignored the order.”
Garthright was arrested and booked into the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges including Fraud Schemes, Theft, Computer Tampering, Trespassing and Forgery with a bond set at $50,000.
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