Ex-wife of retired detective with Alzheimer's pleads not guilty to stealing from him

Staff writerMarch 19, 2014 

The ex-wife of a retired Tacoma police detective with Alzheimer’s disease pleaded not guilty Wednesday to allegedly spending thousands of dollars of his money without his permission.

Rhoda Ramirez, herself a former cop who’d been free pending arraignment, was ordered taken into custody by Pierce County Judge Edmund Murphy, and she was led out of a Superior Court courtroom in handcuffs.

Ramirez, 52, was expected to post the $10,000 bail set by Murphy and be released later today.

Prosecutors have charged her with 15 felonies, including multiple counts of identity theft, theft and forgery.

They contend that between 2011 and 2012 Ramirez, who moved back in with her ex-husband after their 1999 divorce, wrote checks on his account for “things such as her daughter’s rent, car payments, insurance and cellphones – expenses clearly not for his benefit,” court records show.

Ramirez and the retired detective have a son together, and she has children from a previous relationship.

The alleged victim, who retired in 2010 after his disease rendered him unable to work, maintains he did not give his ex-wife authorization to write checks for anything other than their household expenses.

Prosecutors said in court records the man’s loss might be as much as $30,000.

Deputy prosecutor Erika Nohavec on Wednesday asked Murphy to jail Ramirez on $25,000 bail.

Ramirez’s lawyer, Barbara Corey, told The News Tribune earlier this month that her client had her ex-husband’s permission to spend the money prosecutors now claim she stole.

“All these things she’s charged with were done with his consent,” Corey said.

On Wednesday, Corey argued that Ramirez should be released on her own recognizance.

Her client is a lifelong Tacoma resident who works in the social-service industry and has two grandchildren, the attorney said.

“She has absolutely no reason to flee,” Corey said.

Murphy said he thought some bail was appropriate and set it at $10,000. He denied Corey’s request that her client be allowed to remain free and be given 24 hours to post it.

Murphy also ordered Ramirez to have no contact with her ex-husband and his brother, who attended court and argued for the “highest bail possible.”

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