24 December 2013

Clackamas Deputies Seek Woman

By Rick Bella | rbella@oregonian.com 

Clackamas deputies seek woman in financially devastating elder-abuse, theft case

Police are crediting a Sandy-area insurance agent for interrupting financially devastating elder-abuse theft and are asking for help finding a person of interest in the case.

Lt. Robert Wurpes, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said the victim, an elderly widow, has learned that her bank accounts were drained and that an unauthorized reverse-mortgage line of credit was opened on her home. In addition, her car was repossessed and her credit card was overdrawn and canceled while her late husband's death-benefit account was wiped out.

"This kind of crime is aimed at the most vulnerable people," Wurpes said.

Wurpes said deputies want to question 79-year-old Viola E. Wharton's ex-daughter-in-law, Jacki Lynn Newman, 47, who lived in Wharton's home east of Sandy for six months before the insurance agent discovered the dwindling, muddled finances.

Wurpes said insurance agent Cody Giusto became suspicious earlier this year when he learned Wharton -- his neighbor -- had not paid her home-insurance premium and that her policy had been canceled. Giusto, 27, then tried to contact Wharton several times, but was brushed aside by Newman, who fed him a series of excuses.

But that only made Giusto more suspicious.

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