Jeannette woman charged with stealing $220K from mother, spending $50K on psychics
A Jeannette woman has been charged with draining $220,400 from her ailing mother’s bank accounts and spending more than $50,000 of the money on a California-based psychic hotline, authorities said Friday.
Teri Lyn Padgett, 57, in February began taking money from accounts her mother maintained at the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union in Hempfield, according to West-moreland County Detective Ray Dupilka.
“Her mother suffers from dementia and requires supervised care within her own home. Padgett had power of attorney over her mother’s assets and used that to gain access to her … accounts,” Dupilka said.
Authorities said they were contacted in July by officials at the Westmoreland County Area Agency on Aging who noticed unusual activity in the victim’s accounts.
More than $53,000 was directed from the accounts to California Psychics, court documents indicate. Another $17,936 was deposited into Padgett’s personal bank account and a $148,678 annuity payment made in July to the victim was transferred to another personal bank account owned by the suspect, Dupilka said.
Other payments with the victim’s money were made to cover specialized cable services, credit card debt and fees for an online astrology service, court documents show.
The county agency has been appointed by the courts as guardian of the victim, who has been moved into a facility operated by the agency.
Padgett was arraigned before North Huntingdon District Judge Wayne Gongaware and ordered held in the county prison after failing to post $20,000 bond. Padgett’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 3.
The state maintains a toll-free elder abuse hotline at 1-800-490-8505. All tips remain confidential.
Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2860.