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Woman accused of theft from elderly patient

A 51-year-old home care nurse from Front Royal, Virginia, is facing theft charges. She is accused of using a bankcard without permission that belonged to an 89-year-old woman under her care.

Specific charges include credit card theft and credit card fraud. Prosecutors claim that she stole thousands of dollars from her patient. The patient, who had employed the nurse to assist her in her home, fired her after claiming that she had engaged in fraudulent transactions using her credit card. The allegedly unauthorized transactions were reported to total over $20,000 and to have occurred over a three-month period.

During the execution of search warrants at the defendant's two homes, police seized a number of television sets, checkbooks, other documents and various miscellaneous mail. An auto dealer also repossessed two vehicles from the defendant following the searches.

News reports about the charges stated that the defendant has a previous 2002 conviction for several charges of grand larceny by embezzlement. Those charges resulted in jail time and an order to pay almost $20,000 in restitution. News reports frequently point to defendant's past legal troubles, which does not constitute any indication of guilt on the currently pending charges. Defendants with past convictions are entitled to a constitutionally mandated presumption of innocence, and the prosecution is required to present relevant and admissible evidence to try to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Criminal defense attorneys in such cases play a vital role in seeing to it that the right of a defendant to a fair trial be scrupulously respected. In addition, potential jurors are thoroughly screened to see if biased news accounts containing material not entered into evidence at the trial would taint their decision to be impartial.

Source: NV Daily.com, "Woman Arrested, charged in theft" Alex Bridges, Oct. 18, 2013

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