TACOMA, WA – Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Betsey Jane Cammon, 54, with 34 counts of theft. From June, 2007, through May, 2010, the defendant depleted her 96-year-old uncle's estate by more than $400,000.
"Our Elder Fraud team vigorously prosecutes cases of elder fraud and theft," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. "We encourage family and friends of elder victims to come forward and report these crimes against some of the most vulnerable members of our community."
In 1998, the defendant was given power of attorney for her elderly uncle. They agreed her role would become active only when her uncle became unable to make decisions regarding his personal or financial affairs. In May 2007, the defendant was added to the victim's bank accounts. Two years later, suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia, the victim was admitted to a nursing home.
On March 25, 2009, the victim's doctor provided a letter stating that he could no longer manage his own affairs. The defendant became the active attorney-in-fact for the victim. By this time, the defendant had already withdrawn nearly $200,000 from the victim's accounts.
One year later, the defendant failed to pay the victim's nursing home bill, accruing a $51,000 debt. A guardianship action was then filed. On May 15, 2010, Rainier Guardianship Services was appointed as the victim's guardian. At their appointment, they were forced to liquidate the victim's assets in order to pay for his living expenses because the victim's accounts were nearly depleted.
The victim passed away on September 30, 2010, and his nephew was appointed as his personal representative. The nephew found further discrepancies in the victim's accounts. When the defendant was initially confronted about the discrepancies she promised to produce information and provide an explanation for the missing funds. She failed to do so. Later she claimed she was threatened and extorted by an unknown person to give them the money.
In April 2012, a family member of the victim reported the crime to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. Investigators found that the defendant withdrew $423,120.75 and gifted $49,450 to her friend. Among the checks she wrote were property tax payments for two homes owned by her and her boyfriend. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be forthcoming.
The defendant was arraigned today. Bail was set at $25,000. Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
For more information, please contact Emily Conlee at (253) 798-6265, [email protected] or Kelly Kelstrup at (253) 798-7792, [email protected].