COLUMBIA - Boone County Sheriff's Department deputies arrested a Sturgeon woman Tuesday on suspicion of defrauding family members and financially exploiting tens of thousands of dollars from an 80-year-old Columbia woman she lived with.
Detective Tom O'Sullivan said the suspect had already been on probation for fraud when detectives took her into custody.
Michele Gail Brown, 40, of 18021 North Old Highway 63, was arrested on suspicion of probation violation, fraudulent use of a credit device, forgery and financial exploitation of the elderly, according to a Boone County Sheriff's Department news release.
Brown and the woman worked for the same company several years back, according to the release. Brown moved into the elderly woman's home on Kinloch Court in May 2010. Detectives were contacted Tuesday by family members of the suspect and victim.
Detectives suspect that Brown opened numerous credit cards in the elderly woman's name and charged at least $29,000, according to the release. That amount is expected to be higher after detectives finish examining financial documents.
O'Sullivan said financial exploitation cases often involve family members or the elderly.
"Unfortunately, we do see these types of incidents from time to time," O'Sullivan said. "People should always be on the alert and keep track of their financial records. Be careful about who you give access to for financial information. If you have an elderly family member, be sure you know who's around them."
Brown was being held in Boone County Jail on $18,000 bond, according to the Boone County Sheriff's Department's website records.
Supervising editor is Simina Mistreanu.