Woman allegedly preyed on elderly neighbor’s fear of nursing home to steal $10,000

February 27, 2013 4:11 p.m. - Updated: 4:12 p.m.

A Spokane Valley woman has been charged with forcing a 91-year-old neighbor to give her power of attorney and then stealing $10,000 from the elderly woman’s bank account.

Jody Scotece, 53, was charged with first-degree theft, obtaining a signature under duress and money laundering, according to a news release from the Spokane County Sheriff’s office.

Scotece convinced the elderly woman, her neighbor in a trailer park, that the only way for her to avoid going to a nursing home was to sign over power of attorney, the release said.

The manager of the trailer park told deputies that paramedics had visited the elderly woman’s home recently. They reportedly told the woman, whose home was cluttered, that she might want to have someone help her clean the space or consider moving to a nursing home.

A few days later, the manager learned Scotece had likely heard what the paramedics said, and had quickly befriended the elderly woman and had her sign power-of-attorney documents.

The woman “said Scotece continued talking about the victim being put in a nursing home, but she would figure out a way for this not to happen,” the release said. “The victim, when presented with the power of attorney paperwork, thought this was the only way she could stay out of the nursing home and signed the papers.”

The woman allowed the manager to see paperwork from her bank that showed her account had been closed and $10,000 was withdrawn without her permission, according to the sheriff’s office.

When deputies contacted Scotece, the release said, she told them she had permission to withdraw the money to repair her own truck and buy various items, including a 47-inch television, a DVD player, rolls of carpet and new pots and pans. Scotece returned about $4,500 but had spent the rest.

Detectives were able to retrieve $1,000 Scotece had paid to have her truck repaired.

She later admitted she did not have permission to spend the money, the sheriff’s office said.

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