NANCY POWELL ¦ Staff Writer
(Sept. 28, 2012) A 55-year-old Queenstown woman was charged Monday with stealing more than $100,000 from an elderly Ocean City resident.
The victim, an 89-year-old man who lives in a North Ocean City condominium, filed a complaint with a local bank stating that his caretaker, Laura Baker, had taken funds from his checking account without his permission. The man had added Baker to his checking account May 29.
An investigation revealed Baker wrote 11 checks to herself, to cash or to other companies or accounts that were not associated with the man. The total amount of the checks written by Baker was $266,735.27. She wrote those checks from June 27 through Aug. 17.
On Sept. 24, the staff of the condominium where Baker and the man each had a unit told Ocean City police that Baker was at her unit. Police had not been able to find the man at his unit.
While police were there, Baker called the man on her cell phone and the police talked with him. According to the charging documents, the victim said he had not spoken to Baker about the missing money. He also said he and Baker were engaged and that he had added her to his checking account so she could help him pay his bills. He said he had never give her permission to write checks to herself. Baker was only supposed to write checks to pay for gas and electric.
The police then arrested Baker and charged her with theft of more than $100,000 and having a theft scheme to steal more than $100,000.
At the police headquarters in the Public Safety Building, Baker admitted taking money for the man without his permission. According to the charging document, she said, “I made a mistake.” When asked if the police could get any of the man’s money back, she said, “It’s gone.”
Baker did not say how much money she had stolen from the man.