TACOMA, WA – On November 8, 2016, the Pierce County Prosecutor’s office accepted a guilty plea from Shelley Christine Lehman, 43. Lehman was charged with one count of identity theft in the first degree after she was caught making withdrawals from the account of an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s who lives in a care facility.
As a first time offender, she was sentenced to 90 days of Electronic Home Monitoring.
“Cases like this are why we started our Elder Abuse Unit,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “We are committed to protecting the vulnerable.”
On August 1, 2016, Fircrest police were dispatched to TAPCO Credit Union regarding a theft. A TAPCO internal investigation revealed that teller Shelley Lehman made numerous withdrawals from credit union member Jean Hockman’s account over a period of months. Hockman is currently in a care facility and has Alzheimer’s.
All account withdrawals were made under Lehman’s teller code and most of them were at the drive through window where she often works. The TAPCO Branch Manager reviewed video surveillance at the drive through window at the time of the transactions and discovered that there was not a vehicle at the window during the time of the transaction on most occasions. This meant that there was no customer to receive the cash from the withdrawal. The manager also discovered that Hockman’s address was recently changed from a Milton address to a University Place address which is next door to Lehman’s Department of Licensing address.
The investigation revealed that the fraudulent withdrawals started on December 9, 2015 and lasted until July 27, 2016. The amount of the loss is more than $42,000. Hockman’s son discovered the loss and contacted TAPCO who started an investigation. During TAPCO’s investigation Lehman called in sick and then sent an email saying that she was “sorry” and “had messed up so bad.”
Lehman also stated that she had been in two vehicle collisions and had been prescribed pain drugs. She then became addicted to the pain pills and began purchasing the pills illegally.