Three La Plata County residents, including a caretaker, are suspected of stealing nearly $140,000 from an elderly man.
Elizabeth Graham, 63, was arrested June 12 on suspicion of theft from an at-risk victim, a Class 3 felony. Her daughter, Heather Poulton, 42, and her son-in-law, Keith Poulton, were arrested June 22 on the same charge.
According to an arrest affidavit, a Bank of Colorado employee contacted the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office after noticing unusual spending behavior by one of her customers, E.D. Theriot, 92. Specifically, she noticed that since November, Theriot had written $138,883 in checks to Graham, his caregiver, and the Poultons.
Theriot, who died July 4, told investigators he was unaware he had paid Graham nearly $140,000 since November, and did not want her to have that money.
But Graham told the Sheriff’s Office that Theriot agreed to pay her $1,000 a week to be his caregiver. Graham said she filled in the sums to the checks and Theriot had signed them.
Theriot, who struggled to determine lengths of times, originally claimed he agreed to pay $1,000 a week, but then said the terms of the deal was $500 a week plus room and board, according to the affidavit.
Two checks from Theriot’s account were issued to Graham’s son-in-law, Keith Poulton, in March. The first check was for $2,000 on March 8 and the second was for $5,000 on March 18.
Poulton, 49, told investigators he earned the money by working on Theriot’s truck and doing other work around the house. But Theriot told investigators he never contracted Poulton for any work.
A $5,000 check from Theriot’s account was also made out to Graham’s daughter on April 25. Heather told the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office she worked for Theriot every Sunday since November of 2017, and that was her payment. Theriot said he never contracted with Healther Poulton for any work, and she never took care of him on Sundays.
Investigators noticed Graham cashed a $50,000 check from Theriot’s account at Bank of Colorado and deposited the money into an account at First National Bank. She then transferred the money to the Poulton’s account.
Investigators believe Graham, Heather Poulton or all three attempted to purchase real estate and put the $50,000 into a land-trust guarantee. The real estate deal fell through, and when the money was transferred back into the Poulton’s account, it was frozen by First National Bank.
The Poultons are scheduled to appear at 10 a.m. July 20 in court for filing of charges. Graham is scheduled to appear at 10 a.m. Aug. 17 for a preliminary hearing.