A Puyallup woman admitted Tuesday to stealing more than $82,000 from her husband’s grandfather, who has dementia.
Jessica Sellers, 37, pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree theft and four counts of second-degree theft in Pierce County Superior Court. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 2.
Prosecutors will seek the high end of the sentencing range, 29 months, for the crimes, while Sellers’ defense attorney will ask for first-time offender status, which would bring zero to 90 days in jail, according to the prosecutor’s office.
According to court documents:
Sellers’ husband’s grandfather was diagnosed with dementia in 2005, and she volunteered to have power of attorney for him in 2006.
The grandfather was put into assisted living in 2012. He was supposed to have enough money left to live the rest of his life comfortably, but his granddaughter found his bank account nearly depleted a year later.
His home sold shortly after, but Sellers — unemployed, with her husband living on a state Department of Labor & Industries injury claim — told the family it sold for $50,000 less than it did.
Soon after, Sellers bought a new car with money from the grandfather’s account, along with a collector car, puppies, guns, snowboards and myriad home improvements.
She and her family also took vacations to Hawaii, Ocean Shores, Lake Chelan, Port Townsend and Great Wolf Lodge, again depleting the grandfather’s account.
The state pursued charges on eight transactions from the grandfather’s bank account, including the purchase of the car.
A clinical psychologist reviewed the case and the grandfather’s records, and determined he had “clear impairments in his functional capacities” and that dementia likely impaired his ability to make financial decisions.