Caregiver arrested for financial exploitation of vulnerable adult

Stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The St. George Police arrested a St. George woman Tuesday for the exploitation of a vulnerable adult she was caring for at an assisted living facility in St. George.

Lorrie Deanna Smith of St. George, Utah, booking photo posted May 27, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Lorrie Deanna Smith of St. George, Utah, booking photo posted May 27, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Lorrie Deanna Smith, 41, was arrested and charged with one third-degree felony for exploitation of a vulnerable adult, three third-degree felonies and one class-A misdemeanor for unlawful use of a finance card and theft.

According to the probable cause statement filed in connection with the arrest, an 88-year-old woman reported having two of her credit cards stolen while living at Ridgeview Gardens, an assisted living facility for the elderly in St. George.

One of the stolen credit cards was used approximately 15 times between May 11-15, totaling charges of $2,963.14. The other stolen credit card was used approximately 9 times from May 5-10, with charges totaling $576.29.

St. George Police Officer Brandon Dunbar retrieved security camera footage from several local businesses where the stolen credit cards were used. He then took the footage to the manager of Ridgeview Gardens to see if he recognized the person shown using the cards.

The manager identified the woman to be Smith, an employee at Ridgeview Gardens, who was a Certified Nurses Assistant and caregiver to the victim.

Smith was arrested at her home at 781 N. Valley View Dr. in St. George and booked into Washington County’s Purgatory Correctional Facility. According to booking information, Smith’s bail stands at $21,943.

In Washington County alone, Smith has faced criminal charges on several occasions dating back to April 19, 2010, with various dispositions, some convictions. Nonetheless, Ridgeview Gardens Administrator Spencer Eaton said that the facility does conduct criminal background checks on their employees. Eaton declined to comment on Smith’s arrest.

Financial exploitation

Research shows that as many as five million older adults are victims of financial exploitation each year, costing seniors an estimated $3 billion annually. Utah seniors are exploited out of at least $7.7 million each year, with the average victim losing just over $85,000.

But these types of crimes can and should be prevented.

As financial exploitation targeting older adults continues to become more prevalent in the United States, Utah Adult Protective Services has joined a nationwide campaign to encourage older adults and their families to address the issue and get informed about the warning signs and resources available to help prevent abuse.

There are several signs of financial exploitation to look out for, including financial activity that is inconsistent with an older adult’s history, confusion about recent financial arrangement, a caregiver or beneficiary who refuses to use designated funds for necessary care and treatment of an older adult and an older adult who feels threatened by a caregiver who is seeking to control their finances.

The Utah Department of Human Services recommends that if you hire someone to help you in your home, ensure that they have been properly screened with criminal background checks completed. Ask for certifications when appropriate.

“Financial exploitation can be prevented if people know the right questions to ask and where to turn for help,” Mary Twomey, Co-Director of the National Center on Elder Abuse, said. “Although it is a sensitive issue and one that can be difficult to broach, it is critical for families to address, and there are many useful resources available to guide them through the process.”

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Resources

  • To learn about preventing elder abuse, neglect or exploitation or obtain a free copy of Legal Guide 55 | Telephone: 877-424-4640
  • A digital copy of the financial exploitation brochure is available online
  • Toll-free statewide phone number for reporting elder abuse, neglect or exploitation | Telephone: 800-371-7897
  • Five County Association of Governments Aging Services Division | Telephone: 435-673-3548

Related posts

Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

 

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7 Comments

  • johnson May 28, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    What is her religious affiliation?

    • Jensen May 28, 2014 at 9:10 pm

      What would her religion have to do with anything?

    • Mean momma May 29, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Johnson, what is your religious affiliation? I’d just really like to know what kind of people are asking these idiotic questions? So please Johnson, put us out of our misery!

  • Mary May 29, 2014 at 8:00 am

    A persons “religious affilliation”(or lack of) does not change what kind of person they are. That is not what gives someone morals.

  • sagemoon May 29, 2014 at 8:40 am

    What a creep. This woman should be ashamed of herself. I hope the elderly victim is able to find some justice.

  • KanabCowgirl May 29, 2014 at 11:55 am

    This can happen to anyone. My grandpa’s son (his oldest child) took Gpa to Idaho. Gpa didn’t want to go but didn’t fight it. Then after about 2 months of sitting in a chair all day long Gpa got fed up & went home on his own. After GPA was home for like 2-3 months the son was still taking gpa’s social security $ and the son still to this day hasn’t faced any charges.
    So I’m glad to see that at least 1 person is not going to be able to do this anymore.

  • ladybugavenger May 29, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    He just wanted to know if she is orman. And someone’s beliefs should have something to do with their morals!! or its just a religion then it is just a cult.

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