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This woman bought herself $100K worth of stuff, but it wasn’t her money, detectives say

McClatchy

A Birch Bay woman was arrested last week after she allegedly defrauded a 78-year-old woman she was caring for out of more than $100,000 over the last two years and used the money to buy things for herself.

Kimberly Ann Stavig, 54, was booked Thursday on suspicion of first-degree identity theft, second-degree identity theft and first-degree theft of more than $5,000. She was released on her own recognizance Friday.

In August of last year, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office got a referral from Adult Protective Services about possible financial exploitation of a “vulnerable elderly adult,” a Blaine woman.

The woman’s financial adviser noticed four money transfers totaling $45,000 from an investment account to a banking account in July 2017, according to a WCSO news release. Another transfer, this time for $25,000, was made July 20 – which the adviser canceled, authorities said.

Soon after, the adviser got a call from a woman who identified herself as the 78-year-old Blaine woman, asking about the cancellation.

But he told detectives the elderly woman has a distinctive voice, and he knew the caller wasn’t her, according to the news release.

Further, the financial adviser told detectives $136,000 had been transferred out of the Blaine woman’s account last year.

During a meeting, the Blaine woman told authorities she didn’t make any transfers in July and had not transferred money since May, according to the release.

She told detectives she hired Stavig in February 2016, and suspected that Stavig may have gained access to her checks and debit card, the release indicated.

A representative of the Blaine woman’s bank told authorities there were several large withdrawals made in July – from $600 to $2,500 – from the Bellingham Walmart, and the elderly woman said she didn’t make those transactions, according to the release.

Detectives said they found seven purchases made at Walmart between July 19 and Aug. 10 which were made through Money Gram and Ria Financial, and surveillance footage showed Stavig making the transactions.

Stavig canceled the transactions, and she was given the money back in cash, rather than crediting back the account, according to the release.

Detectives further got a copy of a bank statement they say showed hundreds of ATM withdrawals and large dollar purchases in Whatcom and Skagit counties using the Blaine woman’s debit card.

Here’s a rundown of the $106,619 sheriff’s detectives say the Blaine woman was taken for:

▪  Walmart in Bellingham: Forty-two Money Gram and Ria Financial transactions totaling $44,406.98 were made from April 21 to Aug. 10 – transactions showed Stavig as the sender.

▪  Samuels Furniture in Ferndale: Two transactions were made Jan. 4, 2016 for $748.65 and May 17, 2017 for $2,477.64 to buy a wine cooler and two mattresses. The items were delivered to Stavig’s home and the delivery slip was signed by Stavig’s boyfriend.

▪  City Mac in Bellingham: A Macbook Air was purchased for $1,162 and Stavig was listed as the buyer on the invoice.

▪  Kucumber Skin Lounge in Bellingham: A $1,200 transaction was made for a skin treatment, which is valued at $3,600. An invoice listed Stavig as the customer.

▪  Various locations: A number of ATM charges were made by Stavig at Safeway, Fred Meyer, HuugeInc.com, Samuels Furniture, Kucumber Skin Lounge, City Mac, Apple Online and Lowes in Bellingham.

Financial documents belonging to the Blaine woman were also found in Stavig’s home, along with medical statements, authorities said.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

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