JOINT PRESS RELEASE FROM THE SPOKANE VALLEY POLICE DEPT. AND THE SPOKANE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: On the afternoon of Tuesday February 19th at 3:10 p.m., Spokane Valley Sheriff's deputies responded to a theft call in the 200 block of South Park.
Deputies contacted the owner of the trailer park as well as the park manager and learned that one of the tenants the park manager looks after, a 91-year-old female, had $10,000 stolen from her.
The park manager told deputies events earlier in the month brought paramedics to the elderly female's residence and due to the amount of clutter in the home, they commented that perhaps she needed to be in a nursing home or have someone help her clean out her home.
Being very frightful of going to a nursing home, the female agreed to have someone assist her with cleaning her trailer. The park manager believes it was at this time a female neighbor, 53-year-old Jody Scotece, overheard the conversation and began to quickly befriend the elderly female (victim).
Days later, the park manager went over to check on the victim and learned Scotece had provided power of attorney documents for the victim to sign. This raised concern on the part of the park manager and he voiced this to the female. He noticed an envelope from her bank lying on the counter and with her permission, opened the envelope to find a letter from the bank advising her of the closure and subsequent withdrawal of a $10,000 CD the day after she signed the power of attorney documents.
The female advised the park manager she didn't give permission to Scotece to make the withdrawal and he called police to make a report for the victim. The victim told deputies she had not met Scotece prior to the date the paramedics came to her residence. Scotece came over with some people and started talking to her about how she would have to be put into a nursing home if they couldn't clean up the trailer.
The victim commented she thought Scotece was very nice, but overbearing and she was intimidated by Scotece's take-charge attitude. She said Scotece continued talking about the victim being put in a nursing home, but she would figure out a way for this not to happen.
The victim, when presented with the power of attorney paperwork, thought this was the only way she could stay out of the nursing home and signed the papers. Deputies responded to Scotece's trailer and contacted her. Scotece talked with deputies and claimed she had permission from the victim to withdraw the money. She also claimed to have permission to use the money to repair a truck she had as well as various other needs.
Scotece returned approximately $4,500 which was located in various areas inside the trailer to the deputies and admitted to spending the balance of the $10,000. Deputies arrested Scotece and transported her to jail where she was booked on a Felony charge of Theft 1st Degree. Additionally, based on information Scotece repeatedly threatened the victim with placement in a nursing home and used that fear to cause her to sign the power of attorney paperwork, probable cause also existed to charge Scotece with another felony of Obtaining a Signature Under Duress.
Upon further questioning at the jail, Scotece told deputies she had paid a mechanic $1,000 for work to be done on her truck and advised she had purchased a 47" TV and DVD player as well as other grocery items (allegedly for the victim).
On Friday, February 22nd, Spokane Valley Property Crimes detectives executed a search warrant at Scotece's residence in the 200 block of South Park to recover evidence in this case. Numerous items were recovered, which Scotece admitted to using the victim's money to purchase without her permission.
Detectives located and seized new carpeting still in a roll from inside the trailer as well as the 47" TV and DVD player along with new pots/pans and other items shown on various receipts.
They also found newly installed carpet which remained in the trailer and was not seized. Detectives also contacted the mechanic Scotece paid to have her truck repaired and retrieved the $1,000. After the search warrant was executed, Scotece was charged with an addition felony of Money Laundering.
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