AUBURN, Wash. - A 40-year-old woman charged with first-degree theft is accused of stealing nearly $16,000 from her hospitalized mother’s bank account that was to be used for her medical care and housing.
Charging documents said the victim’s daughter, Susan-Jo Christina Rumer, was appointed as Penny Hill’s power of attorney on April 2, 2014.
Hill, who had dementia before her death in August 2018, was unable to care for herself and was considered to be a vulnerable adult, court documents said.
On May 16, 2018, Auburn Police Detective Eric Mattson was assigned a criminal investigation request submitted by Erika Parmelee of Adult Protective Services.
At that time, 65-year-old Hill was living Canterbury House in Auburn, a full-care medical facility. Hill had moved there in Nov. 2016.
Mattson called Parmelee, who said that in April 2018, a guardianship had been appointed to Hill to manage her finances and her medical care when Rumer failed to pay Canterbury House for her mother’s care.
Parmelee said that transactions from Hill's account were being made at various grocery stores, mobile phone stores and multiple ATM cash withdrawals, with some transactions taking place at casinos.
The purchases were made with funds which should have gone towards Hill's medical care and housing, according to Parmelee.
Parmelee said she had sent a certified letter to Rumer asking for a response to the charges in Hill's account and non-payments to Canterbury House.
Mattson then contacted the manager of Canterbury House, who said that since Jan. 2017, they had not been receiving payments for Hill’s care and that Rumer had been contacted about the money owed each time she visited Hill, along with multiple phone conversations and letters sent to her home.
At that time, Canterbury House was owed $16,111.77.
Mattson received a copy of Hill's Anchor Bank financial statements dated from Jan. 2017 to April 2018 from Canterbury House’s manager.
The detective said he found “activity which clearly showed Rumer was actively engaged in spending Hill's finances on many things other than Hill's care. The following list shows how Rumer had spent the funds, but does not account for all of the money taken from Hill’s bank account.”
Mattson said the following amounts were spent out of Hill's account by Rumer between Jan. 2017 through Mar. 2018:
- ATM cash withdrawals - $4,880
- Grocery stores (Winco, Safeway, Walmart, Drug Stores) - $3,657
- Fast food (McDonalds, Taco Bell, pizza, delis, Arby's, KFC) - $1,334
- 7-Eleven - $403
- Nail salon - $254
- T-Mobile - $1,920
- Entertainment (Games, bowling, movies) - $568
- Clothing stores - $176
- Vehicle maintenance - $559
- Rumer's employer - $262
Mattson said there was about $1,800 in additional spending by Rumer at various stores, gas stations and retailers.
Based on his calculations from Hill's bank statements, it appeared Rumer had stolen $15,778 out of Hill's bank account, Mattson said in probable cause documents.
Rumer was arrested on May 18, 2018.
She was expected to plead guilty on Tuesday afternoon.
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