Crime

Lake Tapps woman admits bilking her elderly father out of thousands

Staff writerDecember 19, 2013 

A Lake Tapps woman who admitted to bilking her elderly father out of more than $200,000 has been sentenced to two years in prison.

Anna Sturtz, 60, pleaded guilty earlier this month to eight counts of first-degree theft for stealing from her 81-year-old father, who suffers from dementia.

Sturtz faced a standard range of one year, 10 months to two years, five months in prison. Superior Court Judge James Orlando adopted prosecutors’ recommendation of two years.

Investigators believe Sturtz siphoned money from her father’s accounts for as long as six years before the thefts were discovered by her brother last year. She had access to her father’s accounts so she could pay his bills, court records show.

Sturtz was charged in March with 19 felonies.

In a letter to Orlando, Sturtz apologized for the “true grief that this has caused my father.”

“These actions occurred at a very bad time in my life and when I was heavily addicted to gambling and compulsive spending,” she wrote. “In my mind, I had convinced myself that I was borrowing the money with my dad’s permission. I know now I have been in denial.”

She promised to address her addiction and do what she could to pay her father back when she’s released from prison.

Her brother, Robert Villegas, also wrote a letter to Orlando.

Villegas wrote that Sturtz betrayed not only her father but the entire family.

Their father, now virtually destitute, is forced to live in a nursing home farther away from his family than they’d like because the cost of his care there is supplemented by Medicaid, Villegas wrote.

“He tells me all the time he doesn’t like it there and that it is lonely,” he wrote.

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