|Lori Pendergrass Sconyers|
Police began investigating the theft in June when a woman reported her 91-year-old mother's credit card was stolen, Detective Michael Ferguson said in a news release. Initially Sconyers, a home health nurse from Athens, was arrested on a theft charge. But the investigation continued as multiple transactions were discovered on the victim's bank account, Ferguson said.
Sconyers is held in the Morgan County Jail with bail set at $10,000 cash only. She is charged with first-degree financial exploitation of the elderly. The Class B felony is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
In nearby Limestone County, Sconyers also has been indicted on two counts of fraudulent use of a debit card, according to court documents. Those charges were brought because Sconyers used the credit card, which was stolen from the Decatur woman, to make purchases in Athens, said Emme Long, a Decatur police spokeswoman.
Sconyers used the elderly woman's money to pay her own insurance, cellphone and credit card bills, Ferguson wrote in court records. Sconyers is accused of stealing $8,641.
Additional details haven't been released.
The Department of Human Resources has an Adult Services Division that investigates crimes against the elderly by working alongside local law enforcement agencies and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
If anyone suspects an elderly person is being exploited, it can be reported to DHR's hotline at 1-800-458-7214 or by contacting a local office. A report also can be filed via email.
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Nurse accused of stealing more than $8,000 from 91-year-old Decatur patient