NORTH KINGSTOWN—A North Kingstown woman was arrested this past Friday as the subject of a Rhode Island State Police investigation into her exploitation of an elder. Barbara Flaherty, 49, of 70 Sedgefield Road was apprehended after it was discovered she had stolen over $200,000 from her 88 year-old father, who is currently residing in an assisted living center.
A complaint by Flaherty’s half-sister was filed with RISP in June 2011 regarding funds that were transferred from Flaherty’s father’s personal banking accounts on three occasions beginning in December 2008 through May 2011. Flaherty had been named power of attorney for her father’s estate in May 2009 after he had a stroke and was subsequently placed full-time in an assisted living home.
The three transactions of approximately $18,000, $53,000 and $131,000 were transferred by Flaherty into her own personal accounts, from which she made payments to the Prout School for her daughter’s tuition and $2,500 to Sweet Pea Village, a daycare center which her youngest daughter attended. Flaherty also spent over $12,000 at local restaurants and stores for personal items, such as groceries.
Flaherty also reneged on payments of approximately $100,000 to the Scalabrini Villa Nursing Home in North Kingstown for her father’s care. Major Todd Catlow, Detective Commander at RISP, noted that the case was unique in that the larceny occurred between close family members.
“We see quite a few of elderly exploitation cases,” said Catlow. “That the actual child of the elderly person is [responsible] is rare. Generally, it is a more distant relative, like a nephew, but certainly not the child of the victim.”
Flaherty, who was also arrested for driving on a suspended license in June 2012, has been charged with larceny from a person over the age of 65, exploitation of an elder and access to a computer for fraudulent purposes.
She was released on $10,000 personal recognizance and is scheduled to appear in Providence Superior Court on Aug. 23.