Karla Cloutier, 49, faces five charges in Cheshire County Superior Court of financial exploitation of an elderly, disabled or impaired adult. The alleged crimes occurred in Fitzwilliam and Rindge between January 2016 and January 2017.
Prosecutors allege Cloutier made “multiple withdrawals” from three bank accounts belonging to the now 79-year-old woman, identified in court documents as G.S. They also allege Cloutier used one of those accounts to write a check, and cashed out a certificate of deposit belonging to G.S.
According to court documents, the amount in each case exceeded $1,500, the threshold that turns financial exploitation into a class A felony, which can carry more severe penalties.
An indictment is not an indication of guilt; rather, it is a determination by a grand jury that prosecutors have enough evidence to take the case to trial.
Neither the indictments, nor a Thursday news release from the N.H. Attorney General’s Office announcing the charges, specify the nature of the relationship between Cloutier and G.S.
They state only that Cloutier had a “fiduciary obligation” to her alleged victim. That obligation can mean someone is “an agent under a durable power of attorney, guardian, conservator, or trustee,” according to the provision of the N.H. Criminal Code covering financial exploitation of the elderly.
Brandon H. Garod, an assistant attorney general with the office’s Elder Abuse and Exploitation Unit, declined to release further details about the case, citing a general policy of not sharing details that aren’t in public documents.
Garod said his office receives about 10 to 15 reports of financial exploitation of the elderly each week, though many are unfounded.
Prosecutors also charged Cloutier with five counts of theft by unauthorized taking, which, according to court documents, appear to stem from the same alleged conduct that prompted the financial exploitation charges.
According to the news release, the theft charges are “alternate counts.” That typically means a defendant won’t be convicted of both sets of charges. Both the theft and financial exploitation charges are class A felonies, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $4,000 fine.
Defendants found guilty of financial exploitation are also supposed to pay full restitution to their victims.
Cloutier is scheduled to be arraigned in court March 8.
Full Article & Source:
Woman accused of stealing thousands from local senior citizen