Home health aide steals from 97-year-old woman, police says

Miss Bettie Reinsmith says it was hard for her to believe the woman who treated her so well would be stealing money from her. It took a neighbor to finally convince her to call the police. Now she want to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Bettie Reinsmith would tell you she’s not 97 years old, “Oh no….75 hahah I’m still in there kicking!”

And if it weren’t for a bad back she would do everything herself. She said, “That’s the only reason I have anybody.”

Reinsmith hired Jennifer Merriman, 41, as a home health aide through two agencies, Hope Pace and Comfort Keepers.

“She was so good or thoughtful that when she would go grocery shopping would bring me a little basket of candy or a little bouquet which was all coming out of my money and I was thanking her for because I thought she was giving me a gift.” Reinsmith said.

Comfort Keepers said in a statement they “did a complete background check on the former employee, which was clean and showed no indication of inappropriate behavior.”

According to the arrest report Merriman confessed to detectives she used Reinsmith’s debit card to pay for her car insurance, a storage unit and personal bills, draining over $3,000 from the account.

“Well, I only have $2,000 in my bank account now,” she added. “I’m just living month to month. But I guess she needed it.”

Now Reinsmith wants to warn others. “Don’t take everybody by face value. Be with them a little while and try and find out their ins and outs and do your shopping yourself.”

While she doesn’t feel her age. “I’m 97 and you know it gets harder to be alone,” she admits it’s part of the reason she was taken advantage of.

“Just for older people to be more careful and to, you know, have somebody check with them.”

Comfort Keepers also said they are insured for this type event and is “in the process of making Bettie Reinsmith financially whole again from this loss.”

Merriman faces charges of fraud by possessing the ID of another person without consent and exploitation of an elderly person. She was released from jail on $10,000 bond with an Aug. 12 court date.

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
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