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Caregiver Charged With Identity Theft

Police: Enfield Woman Stole Norwich Client’s Credit Card

White River Junction — A 33-year-old Enfield woman has pleaded not guilty to allegedly using the credit card of an elderly woman whom she was supposed to be assisting.

Lydia G. Hunter was working for Armistead Caregiver Services and was providing assistance to a 76-year-old Norwich woman when the elderly woman noticed she had an outstanding bill of about $5,000, according to a police report.

Hunter pleaded not guilty earlier this month to two felony charges of identity theft and financial exploitation of more than $500 of a vulnerable adult, as well as a misdemeanor charge of fraudulent credit card possession.

If convicted of all three charges, Hunter could be sentenced to a maximum of 13 1/2 years in prison.

According to a police report, the elderly Norwich woman was notified of the outstanding balance when she tried to renew her credit card. Police allege that the credit card was used at numerous stores where the victim doesn’t frequent, including Un Dun in West Lebanon.

The police affidavit also alleges that a Norwich police officer reviewed processed checks and noticed that on some checks, the signature is fluid and smooth while on others it is shaky. The officer also alleges in the report that he reviewed several credit card statements, which show “suspicious” or “contested” charges to Dan & Whit’s, Jake’s and Kmart.

A written statement from the victim alleges that many of the charges were from stores she never frequents, including Un Dun, Allechante, Gap, Best Buy, TJ Maxx, Pier 1 and Kohl’s. The victim also alleged in a statement that she found checks that included a signature that was not in her handwriting.

Hunter declined to comment for this story.

The Lebanon Police Department also has an open investigation into the case, and Lebanon police Lt. Phil Roberts said that his department was working side-by-side with Norwich police because a number of the alleged fraudulent credit card charges took place in West Lebanon.

Roberts said Lebanon police are still investigating potential fraudulent credit card use, and charges are expected.

Josh Compton, director of operations for Armistead Caregiver Services, said he was called at home in September by one of his caregivers that was helping the victim and notified of the situation. Compton said he notified police. Hunter was working as a license nursing assistant, Compton said. She was put on suspension and eventually terminated.

Hunter worked for Armistead from April 2013 through her termination in October, Compton said. Armistead provides care to seniors and people with disabilities in Vermont, New York and New Hampshire, and there are several dozen caregivers spread across all three states, Compton said.

Hunter also has pending charges in New Hampshire. Among them is a charge filed in Lebanon District Court in early December for acts prohibited for knowingly possessing a controlled drug, oxycodone, without having a prescription, according to court documents. Hunter did not enter a plea for the felony charge.

Hunter also pleaded no contest earlier this year in Lebanon District Court to a charge of attempt to commit unlawful dealing or possessing prescription drugs.

A police affidavit alleges that Hunter called in a prescription to Walgreens and said her name was Donna Travis and told the pharmacy that it was “OK to fill the prescription early.” Hunter was fined $500 and sentenced to 30 days, all suspended, according to court documents.

Hunter is scheduled for a status conference for the charges she faces in Vermont on Jan. 14.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.