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Caregiver charged with stealing from Hagerstown couple arrested at nursing home

Jackie Sue Carter is being held in Lancaster, Pa., pending an extradition hearing

January 27, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A Pennsylvania woman charged with stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a Hagerstown couple while serving as a caregiver was arrested Tuesday at her place of employment — a nursing home.

Jackie Sue Carter, 51, of Lancaster, Pa., was taken into custody on a fugitive warrant at a nursing home in that city, said Detective Casey Barnes of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

She is being held in Lancaster pending an extradition hearing, Barnes said.

Carter is charged with three counts of felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult, and one count each of attempted exploitation of a vulnerable adult, a theft scheme of $10,000 to $100,000 and fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary, according to court records.

Carter had been working as a nursing assistant for an in-home care company in Hagerstown when she was assigned in March 2008 as a caregiver to Nelson and Betty Eshelman, according to the application for statement of charges.

Carter left the company in August 2008. In October, she began working privately for the Eshelmans and was given their power of attorney, the charging documents said.

Nelson Eshelman died on Jan. 11, 2009. The documents allege that the following day, Carter cashed in 11 of the Eshelmans' certificates of deposit valued at $89,802.76.

While cashing the CDs, Carter referred to Betty Eshelman as her mother at that time and told a bank official the money was being transferred to another bank, the documents said.

That same day, Carter cashed a $15,000 check from Betty Eshelman's account, receiving $5,000 in cash and a cashier's check for $10,000 made payable to another woman, the documents said.

The money from the cashier's check and another check from Jan. 5, 2009, were used to make three years' worth of payments on Carter's mobile home in Martinsburg, W.Va., the documents said.

Carter is accused of remodeling her home, buying a truck and making numerous other purchases using money from Betty Eshelman's accounts.

Betty Eshelman died in July 2010.

Between Jan. 11, 2009, and Feb. 22, 2010, the Eshelmans' net worth was reduced from $327,363.01 to $69,368.46, the documents said.

Complaints had been filed with Washington County Adult Protective Services in December 2008 concerning both financial irregularities in the Eshelmans' accounts and the treatment of the couple by Carter, the documents said.

Carter's financial power of attorney was revoked in February 2009, but Betty Eshelman wanted her to retain medical power of attorney, the documents said.

Carter tried to have her name put on the deed to Betty Eshelman's home, attempted to sell stocks and cashed savings bonds owned by Eshelman using her revoked power of attorney and continued to withdraw funds from her accounts, the documents said.

Caregivers hired by Carter and neighbors told investigators that Carter withheld pain medication from Eshelman, kept her secluded from other people and advised caregivers not to administer help or call 911 if she started to choke, the  documents said.

Barnes said Carter gave a Lancaster address when she purchased the truck in March 2010 "and that was the first place we decided to look for her."

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