LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Officers with the Lufkin Police Department arrested a 50-year-old former caregiver for felony theft Tuesday for allegedly forging more than $3,000 worth of checks drank from the account of the elderly man that had been in his care for two years.
Ardell Roberts Jr. 50, of Lufkin, is still being held in the Angelina County jail on a third-degree felony charge of theft of property from the elderly between $1,500 and $20,000. No bail has been set at this time.
Lufkin Police officers stopped Roberts' Saturn in the 200 block of Lotus Lane at approximately 5:35 p.m. Tuesday. He was initially arrested for no car insurance and no driver's license.
According to the arrest affidavit, the daughter of the elderly man that Roberts had been providing care for called the Lufkin Police Department in reference to a number of blank checks stolen from her father that had allegedly been cashed by Roberts.
After the daughter learned that Roberts had allegedly been forging checks on her father's account, he was fired and escorted off her father's property in the 500 block of Hodge Street. In addition, he was issued a criminal trespass warning.
The arrest affidavit also quoted a document from Region's Bank signed by the elderly man. The victim told Region's Bank officials that Roberts had taken random checks from his checkbook.
"The defendant cashed the checks over a long period of time, and the amounts had been very small, therefore the amounts went unnoticed," the arrest affidavit stated.
In addition, the checks were never drawn directly from the Regions account; they were made out to cash, the affidavit stated. The Regions Bank document stated that all the checks found to be made out to Roberts were forgeries, and it listed 35 checks dating from Dec. 14, 2011 to Dec. 11, 2012. The checks totaled $3,015.
Two of the forged checks were signed by the victim's elderly sister who was listed as a co-account holder. The affidavit stated that the sister helped provide care for the victim by cleaning his house. The affidavit stated that Roberts would give the victim baths and look after his personal needs while the sister took care of the household chores and managed the checkbook.
According to the affidavit, an information notebook in the victim's home listed contact information for the man's sister to use. The victim's daughter told police she had found several notes in the book that were written by Roberts. In the notes, Roberts allegedly referenced money being taken on different dates by the daughter.
The daughter told police that the notes made it appear to the woman's aunt that the victim had given his daughter approval to make money transactions. When the daughter asked why neither her father or her aunt had told her about the notes, the aunt informed her that the victim didn't take care of his money matters and that the aunt assumed the transactions listed in the notebook were OK.
In addition, even though the bank insisted that statements had been mailed out on a regular basis, the aunt and the victim told police the statements had stopped arriving in the mail. The aunt told police that she believed the statements were removed from the mail in an attempt to keep them from discovering the unauthorized transactions.