A 72-year-old caregiver from Antelope has been sent to prison for helping herself to money in the checking account of a widower and forging the deed to give herself the house of another.
“Be careful about who you trust to take care of your finances because you never know who is going to take advantage of you,” said Wasco County District Attorney Eric Nisley.”
Jeannie Peggy Essie Adams pleaded not guilty last week in Wasco County Circuit Court to two counts of aggravated theft in the first degree. She was sentenced to 24 months in prison, although she was credited for seven months spent in jail awaiting adjudication of her case.
She was accused by Wasco County District Attorney Eric Nisley of stealing money from a man while helping him go through the probate process after the death of his wife. She admitted Oct. 1 to using his debit card to access his bank account and also writing herself two checks, for a combined total of $22,000.
She also purchased items for herself with his debit card on a television shopping channel.
Nisley said Adams served as the caregiver for another elderly man and, after he died, ended up with his house because she counterfeited his signature on a power of attorney form and the deed to the property, which was signed over to her boyfriend.
“She put herself in a position of trust and the man said she was wonderful even when allegations of improper conduct were made before he died,” said Nisley.
Adams was arrested Feb. 6 by Oregon State Patrol Detective Lori Rosebraugh while shopping in Madras.
In a moment of courtroom drama, she tripped over her shackles during a late September hearing to enter a plea to the charges against her. She hit her head and was transported to Mid-Columbia Medical Center for a medical evaluation, which determined she had sustained only a superficial injury.
When Adams is released from prison, she has been ordered by the court to pay $32,000 in restitution and will spend 36 months on supervised parole to get that done. The deed to the house has been signed over to the man’s heirs.