The ex-wife of a retired Tacoma police detective suffering from Alzheimer’s disease has been charged with 15 felonies for allegedly draining his bank accounts, court records show.
Pierce County prosecutors filed multiple counts of identity theft, forgery and theft against Rhoda Ramirez on Monday. They also allege Ramirez abused a position of trust and took advantage of a particularly vulnerable person. Ramirez could face a sentenced above the standard range if prosecutors can prove those aggravating factors in court.
Ramirez, 52 and also a former Tacoma police officer, has not been arrested. She is expected to be summoned to court some time this month for arraignment.
Her attorney, Barbara Corey, said Tuesday she is astonished that charges were brought against her client.
“All these things she’s charged with doing were done with his consent,” Corey said.
Ramirez and the retired detective were married in 1994 and had a son together, court records show. They divorced in 1999.
In 2008, Ramirez moved back in with her ex-husband, who was forced to retire in 2010 when his disease rendered him unable to complete his duties.
Three years later, his brother and employees at the credit union where the man has accounts became concerned that something was amiss, court records show.
“It was discovered that between July 2011 and January 2012, (the man’s) bank account went from a balance of $30,000 down to $400, thus having a major impact on his financial situation,” the records state.
The retired detective’s brother learned Ramirez allegedly had been writing checks on the man’s accounts “for things such as her daughter’s rent, car payments, insurance and cellphones — expenses clearly not for his benefit,” the records show.
Ramirez has two daughters from a previous relationship.
“Although the two had reconciled and were living together, they were not married, and Rhoda had no legal right to (the man’s) assets,” deputy prosecutor Erika Nohavec wrote in charging documents.
The retired detective later told police he had given his ex-wife permission to use his checks to pay their household bills but was adamant he hadn’t given her permission to spend his money on her daughters or anyone else, the records state.
Ramirez allegedly told detectives her ex-husband was fully aware of what she was doing and approved every check she wrote on his accounts.
She admitted giving some money to one of her daughters but said her ex-husband would have approved, the court records show.
In a 2012 affidavit filed in a civil court matter related to the custody of their son, Ramirez said she and her ex-husband were “in a committed and exclusive relationship.”
“We shared our resources and met our obligations as a couple,” she said. “This reconciliation has gone well until recently.”