UPDATED 8.15.2011 by Julie Montanaro 6:45pm
A caretaker is accused of skimming money from a 100 year old woman. And that woman is her own grandmother. The losses topped 10-grand in just a few months.
Lynda Hutcheson moved in with her mother and 100 year old grandmother in April, deputies say, and started stealing money from her grandmother within just a few weeks.
Hutcheson is now in jail facing more than three dozen felonies for it.
"I think they ought to keep her in jail. That's where she needs to be," said Deborah Hampton.
"A person who will cheat an elderly person should be put away for the maximum time the law will allow," Wayne Morgan said.
"It is not unusual to see family members as caregievrs, but it is strangely unusual to see caregivers turn into criminals," said WCSO MAJ Maurice Langston.
Wakulla County deputies say surveillance cameras at Score Federal caught Hutcheson making an unauthorized withdrawal at the ATM. That was back on May 8th.
Deputies say Hutcheson had access to her grandmother's credit card and pin number and proceeded it to use it at least 39 more times at ATM's and stores all over town.
"She would bring in 400 dollars at a time and then she would make small purchases maybe at the local pharmacies or hardware stores, but she would always keep the change and tuck it away," MAJ Langston said.
Deputies say Hutcheson stole nearly 12-thousand dollars, draining the grandmother's accounts and prompting Hutcheson's own mother to call and report the missing money.
"Oh I think it's awful. I don't know how anybody could do that. I took care of my mother and I cannot imagone taking a dime from her," said Wanda Wimberly.
Hutcheson is facing more than 40 felonies and her bond is set at 95 thousand dollars.
Hutcheson's mother answered our knock at the door today, but declined to comment.
Crawfordville, Florida - August 15, 2011 -
The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 52-year-old Crawfordville woman in connection with the theft of nearly $12,000 over several months from her 100-year-old grandmother’s bank accounts, according to Sheriff David Harvey.
Lynda S. Hutcheson was charged with theft, criminal use of a personal identification and exploitation of the elderly on July 20 for an incident at Score Credit Union where the suspect withdrew funds without authorization. The case investigation expanded to include other withdrawals from an additional banking institution and businesses in May and June 2011.
As the case investigation expanded into August, Hutcheson was charged with grand theft and 39 counts of criminal use of personal information.
Hutcheson was a caregiver for her 100-year-old grandmother in Crawfordville. During the investigation, detectives discovered that Hutcheson drove the victim to businesses on daily errands to pick up items for her and she used the victim’s credit card during the transactions. The victim’s family was notified by a banking institution after the accounts became overdrawn. Contact with the victim’s bank determined that more than $9,000 worth of charges was created on her bank accounts.
Video evidence confirmed that Hutcheson withdrew the victim’s money from the credit union. A warrant was issued July 21 for Hutcheson for petit theft, criminal use of personal information and exploitation of the elderly for the May 8 credit union withdrawal. She remained in the Wakulla County Jail under a $15,000 bond while the investigation continued.
Thirty-nine other withdrawals were discovered at Centennial Bank, Wal-Mart, Publix and Winn-Dixie that totaled $11,156 that resulted in her Aug. 12 arrest while in jail. Her bond increased from $15,000 to $95,000 at her first appearance Saturday, Aug. 13. She has remained in the Wakulla County Jail since July 20.
The case was originally reported by the victim’s daughter-in-law who is Hutcheson’s mother. The victim, suspect and suspect’s mother all resided in the same Crawfordville home. The victim has been living in Wakulla County since April 2011 after moving from South Florida.