GREENFIELD — A Greenfield woman has been ordered to pay more than $32,000 in restitution to her in-laws after she stole money from an ailing relative diagnosed with dementia.
Sharron Frazier, 33, pleaded guilty to two felony counts, forgery and theft, in Hancock Circuit Court Tuesday afternoon. In accordance with a plea agreement, she will not receive any jail time but will serve five years on probation as she makes $600 monthly payments to the family.
Frazier, a former paralegal, wrote a carefully worded power of attorney agreement that allowed her to care for Doris Frazier, her husband’s grandmother, after the woman suffered a fall. That document ultimately allowed Frazier to take control of the woman’s finances, a power prosecutors say she used to her own advantage.
Frazier took over the woman’s daily living expenses in August 2007. What police characterized as a vaguely worded power of attorney agreement legally allowed Frazier to give financial gifts – in some cases up to $13,000 per person per year.
Over the course of the next four years, Frazier wrote multiple checks to herself, her husband and local businesses. She also used the woman’s accounts to pay a $25,000 credit card bill and various other personal expenses, police said.
“Records show thousands of dollars in purchases during this time for gas, trips, dining and Internet shopping,” a probable cause affidavit states. “This investigation does not show that Doris Frazier benefited from the purchases.”
While the overall amount of the checks cashed over the course of four years was in excess of $110,000, prosecutors could charge Frazier only with stealing about one-fourth that amount. But police said it is clear many of the purchases made from Doris Frazier’s account were not made at her behest, according to court records.
Frazier and her husband, Ryan Frazier, were both initially charged in the case. Ryan Frazier’s charges were dropped shortly after his wife filed a plea agreement with the court.
A victim statement, read to the court by Deputy Prosecutor Scott Spears, suggests Sharron Frazier took full responsibility for the crime.
“You and your husband had a very close relationship,” the statement from family member Kevin Frazier, reads. “Denying he had anything to do with the theft is just another lie on the pile of many.”
Ryan Frazier is in the process of divorcing his wife, according to court records.
He declined to be interviewed for this story but issued a statement to the Daily Reporter stating, “I am grateful that the truth prevailed, and the single charge against me was dropped. I am thankful beyond words that my family and friends believed in me and stood by me through this very difficult time.”
The Hancock County prosecutor’s office did not explain in detail why Ryan Frazier’s felony charge of theft was dropped.