Police: Whatcom County couple forged $40K in checks for jewelry, vacation

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDFebruary 3, 2014 

LYNDEN - Police say a former employee at a Lynden adult care home stole more than $40,000 from the business with the help of her fiancé.

Lisa Marie Castro and Christopher Robert Wells were booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of first-degree theft and forgery Friday, Jan. 31.

Castro and Wells are suspected of forging and cashing dozens of checks stolen from the care home to the tune of thousands of dollars, Lynden Police Deputy Chief John Billester said.

"They bought jewelry, went on a vacation, bought a washer and dryer - they were just spending it," Billester said.

The theft was discovered two days earlier, when Skagit State Bank called Among Friends Adult Family Home founder Kimberly Honorof to inform her that her accounts had been overdrawn by thousands of dollars, Honorof said.

Castro worked as a live-in caregiver at the home, which houses six elderly residents with dementia or disabilities, from October 2013 until mid-January, Honorof said.

"They stole from vulnerable adults," Honorof said. "I can't even pay my utility bills right now."

Honorof and her own fiancé are getting married Tuesday, Feb. 4, but haven't been able to pay off their wedding bands. They had to use their own credit cards to make sure utilities at the home would be paid at the beginning of the month.

Castro had passed both a Department of Social and Health Services background check and had a clean fingerprint and FBI background check before being employed at the home, Honorof said.

"This can happen to anybody," Honorof said. "There's nothing else we could have done to know. We're taking matters to make changes and figure out what we are going to do to better protect ourselves."

Reach Samantha Wohlfeil at Samantha.Wohlfeil@bellinghamherald.com.

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