Monday, June 29, 2020

Woman Charged With Exploiting Elderly Man

A Marble City woman was charged June 22 with the exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult.

On May 18, a police report shows, Traci Deionn Pruitt, 57, went to the home of a Webbers Falls man. She allegedly told him she needed help cashing a cashier’s check at his bank in Gore. Pruitt told the man the bank wouldn’t cash the check because she did not have the funds to cover it.

The man agreed to go to the bank, where they both signed the check. But on May 21, the man received notice from the bank that the check was not valid and the amount of $1,950 had been deducted from his account to cover the cost of the check.

The man’s power of attorney is held by Deborah Battenfield, who told officers the man is in the early stages of dementia and has a hard time remembering things.

Video footage from the bank captured the check signing and cash handout.

Battenfield provided a letter to the Gore police chief that explains the cashier’s check for $1,950 is bogus.

On May 26, an officer with the Gore Police Department met with Pruitt, who said she had briefly stayed with the elderly man and was his care provider. She told the officer that she used the proceeds from the cashed cashier’s check to pay fines in another county to prevent that county from issuing a warrant for her arrest.

Pruitt insisted she didn’t know the check was fake. She said she had received a package containing the cashier’s check in the mail, tried to cash it and finally called the man to help her.

The felony charge is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or 10 years in prison. Her bond was set at $5,000 and her next court appearance is at 9 a.m. Aug. 12.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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