Caregiver charged with stealing nearly $3,000 from woman

Published 9:22 am Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Payne Graphic
A city woman faces multiple charges after police say she removed nearly $3,000 from the bank account of a woman for whom she was the caregiver.
Brandi Michelle Payne, 38, 705 Poplar St., Elizabethton, was arrested Saturday by officers of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office on warrants charging her with attempted theft over $60,000, theft over $1,000 and three counts of theft over $500.
The theft occurred over a period of about 10 days in October 2015, according to the Elizabethton Police Department.
On Oct. 9, the victim and Payne went to the victim’s bank to add Payne as an authorized signatory on the victim’s bank account.
“On the following business day, Ms. Payne returned to the bank and asked to open an individual checking account that would be solely in her name,” said EPD Investigator David Peters. “After the paperwork had begun, Ms. Payne was asked by (a bank employee) what she wanted to open the account with and she advised she wanted to transfer money from (the victim’s) account in the amount of $112,000.”
“Ms. Payne was advised (the victim) would need to be present and sign to authorize a transfer from her account,” Peters added. “Ms. Payne never returned to the bank with (the victim) to authorize the transfer.”
When Peters spoke with the victim, she said she had never authorized Payne to transfer money from her account.
“She advised me she was pressured into adding Brandi Payne onto her savings account but was convinced by Brandi Payne that if she had to go to a nursing home she would need to purchase things for her and would need access to the account,” Peters said.
In addition to the failed attempt to transfer funds, Peters said Payne wrote unauthorized checks on the victim’s account.
Peters said Payne wrote two unauthorized checks to a local retail store on Oct. 11 — the first for $249.65 and the second for $184.54.
On Oct. 16, Peters said Payne wrote and cashed an unauthorized check in the amount of $2,000 on the victim’s account.
After that incident, Peters said the victim opened a new checking account and did not authorize Payne to use the account. Then, on Oct. 21, Peters said Payne wrote and cashed a check for $500 on the new account.
“(The victim) stated she never received her new checks and did not know how Ms. Payne came to have possession of the checks,” Peters said.
The total for the 4 unauthorized checks Payne allegedly wrote is $2,934.19.
Payne was booked into the Carter County Detention Center on Saturday but was released after posting a $2,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in Carter County General Sessions Court on Feb. 9.

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