Unlicensed caregiver Christine Garthright, 51, was arrested Wednesday and accused of financially exploiting a senior, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Garthright began her duties as a paid, “live-in” caregiver for the 89-year-old victim in Dewey four years ago after moving to Arizona from Washington, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The victim, who had recently experienced a stroke and has poor sight and hearing, relied on Garthright for transportation and everyday tasks.
During this time, detectives later found that the victim had bought two cars for Garthright and her daughter, paid for her daughter’s rent in Washington and allowed the daughter to stay with them in his home for a period of time.
The victim even paid several thousand dollars to fix Garthright’s teeth and for several trips to Washington, the statement said.
The victim’s daughter began to feel suspicious that Garthright had been taking advantage of her father, and began to review her father’s finances in May.
Upon a deeper investigation into her father’s bank account, she found that Garthright had written more than $11,000 to herself and her daughter in more than two dozen unauthorized checks.
The victim also claimed that Garthright stole several thousands of dollars from
his safe, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The victim had reportedly confronted Garthright about her pocketing his money, to which she replied, “Prove it, the police will never be able to get me!”
Following an initial report documenting these instances, a detective specializing in caregiver fraud was assigned to the case in May.
The detective found a video of Garthright withdrawing money using the victim’s debit card without his permission. Garthright stopped showing up for the victim, and the car the victim had bought for her was nowhere to be found.
By July, detectives had proof of the victim losing at least $13,000, according to the Sherrif’s Office.
It was later learned that Garthright had been residing in Florida, where she wrote to detective up to Sept. 1 claiming that she never stole anything and that the victim owed her money.
All attempts to locate Garthright were unsuccessful until detectives were contacted by the victim on Sept. 21, when he received a call from her saying that she would return to Arizona to visit him.
Garthright came back to visit the victim at his home on Sept. 23, where the detective arrested her.
Garthright was also aware that by visiting the victim, she had directly violated the order to stay away from the victim and that she would be arrested for trespassing.
Garthright was booked into Camp Verde Detention Center on several charges including fraud, theft and forgery, where is currently being held on a $50,000 bond.
Reach breaking news reporter Salma Reyes at Salma.Reyes@arizonarepublic.com or on Twitter @r_salma_