Woman accused of stealing father’s Social Security and Veteran’s Affairs benefits
IDAHO FALLS — A local woman is accused of stealing her father’s Social Security and Veteran’s Affairs benefits.
Janet Garrick, 55, was charged with felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult after investigators found she used $12,000 of her father’s Social Security and Veteran’s Affairs benefits for personal purchases.
Garrick’s father has dementia, and according to court documents is unable to manage his own financial assets. Garrick became the payee for his benefits and checked him into an assisted living center in 2017.
Investigators found Garrick has not paid his assisted living center bill since checking him in. He now has $18,000 worth of unpaid invoices.
Investigators were told by the Office of the Inspector General, as a payee, Garrick is obligated to use her father’s benefits to pay for his needs and save any excess for future needs. Garrick’s father is receiving $3,608 a month in benefits.
When investigators looked into the bank account where the benefits were sent, they found dozens of payments going to a variety of places such as; cell phone, dish network, restaurants, Enterprise, Google, Intermountain Gas, Walmart, Maurices, Big Lots, Shopko, Liquor Store, Zurchers, Planet Fitness, Smith’s, Target, Winco, Love at First Bite and others. She also made ATM withdrawals in Fort Hall. The amount of individual purchases and withdrawals were not disclosed.
Investigators noted in the court documents there were no payments going toward her father’s care.
When questioned by investigators Garrick said the assisted living center told her she would be charged $2,600 a month. She said they later said she would have to pay $3,400 a month. Garrick said she has been paying the $2,600.
Investigators told her the invoices and bank statements do not show any payments to the assisted living center. They told Garrick where the records indicated she had spent the money, to which Garrick said, “Yes, I owe my dad money back.”
“I explained to Garrick that I had the documentation that she signed agreeing to only spend his benefit money on her father and that any excess money was to be held in reserve for his costs,” one investigator said, according to documents. “Garrick said, ‘Sorry.'”
The assisted living center was able to have a new person named as the payee for Garrick’s father’s benefits. His money is now being properly managed and the assisted living center is being paid monthly.
A trial is scheduled for Jan. 23. She is facing up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine