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Caregiver accused of penning own paychecks
A Sequim woman is accused of stealing more than $15,000 from an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease over a period of eight months.
A 2½-year Sequim Police Department investigation into the theft allegations against caregiver Linda Ann Ruby, 61, resulted in a first-degree theft charge filed recently in Clallam County Superior Court.
Police believe Ruby stole the money by writing out checks to herself and having the 87-year-old man sign them. Accounting and bank records showed paychecks written by Ruby to herself between January and August 2009 had up to $1,810 in excess pay added to her regular wage, according to police reports.
The investigation began in August 2009 after the man’s son and his accountant had concerns about financial discrepancies. Police interviewed the accountant, who told them she did not have the authority to issue funds or sign checks on the man’s behalf but did generate pay stubs for his caregivers, police said.
“It is presumed that Ruby would receive a pre-signed check and simply fill in the amount,” police said in a case report.
In February 2010, accountants provided documents and bank records to investigators showing $15,808 in overpayments to Ruby that could not be explained, according to the report.
The accountants said following the death of the man’s wife about a year prior, his ability to manage his own affairs deteriorated rapidly.
Police questioned Ruby in May 2010. Police said during the interview Ruby insisted that while she did write out the checks for the man to sign, she used all the extra money on buying him clothing and other incidentals.
When police questioned how so much money could be used solely for small items, she admitted she used some of the money for herself but said she only did that because the man wanted to give her the extra money, police said.
Police also questioned Ruby’s granddaughter, who also worked as a caregiver for the man, regarding her purchase of his car as facilitated by Ruby. No charges were filed against the granddaughter.
In 1995, Clallam County prosecutors charged Ruby with first-degree theft for stealing more than $8,000 from the Family Center of Sequim where she worked, according to court records.
Case minutes show she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 13 days in jail with credit for three days served and the remaining days converted to community service. She was ordered to pay $7,000 restitution and $494 in court costs, which she paid in May 2010.
Prosecutors noted she also was convicted of first degree theft in Clallam County in 1980, of two counts of unlawful issuance of a bank check in Jefferson County in 1986 and of fourth-degree assault in Yakima County in 1991.
Clallam County Prosecutor Ann Lundwall filed a first-degree theft charge in Clallam County Superior Court on March 8 and Ruby is ordered to appear in court April 6.