Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013
Harrisburg Woman Charged for Stealing an Elderly Patient's Identity
HARRISBURG -- A Saline County woman faces multiple charges for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from an elderly patient.
Police say the suspect worked as a caretaker for the elderly victim and during that time, spent a large portion of the 72-year-old Harrisburg woman's life savings.
Now the victim's family is speaking out because they don't want this to happen to anyone else. They say they trusted 45-year-old Kimberly Ital and for the past nine months she's taken advantage of that trust.
Karen Phelps of Harrisburg suffers from dementia and requires around the clock care. Family and friends say she loves and trusts everyone, including her caregivers.
"I thought she was something sent from Heaven," said Karen's brother-in-law Ron Phelps. He says he thought the world of Kim Ital. She was hired last January to help Karen and her husband with their health and finances.
But that quickly changed when Ital was arrested Wednesday afternoon. "She just went wild with somebody else's money," said Ron.
Ital faces a handful of charges for exploiting Karen. According to Saline County State's Attorney Mike Henshaw, Ital used Karen's money to buy a truck for her husband and a car for herself, totaling more than $25,000. Investigators say Ital also payed her daughter's tuition at John A. Logan college, bailed her son out of jail using Karen's Kroger credit card, and took her family on a Hawaiian vacation.
Not to mention, an additional $40-50,000 in other checks and credit card charges.
Family members say she even lied about being a nurse. "Administering shots, medications, all this stuff and she didn't have any more right doing that than I would," insisted Ron.
It didn't take long to learn Ital has a history of taking money that isn't hers. There's a list of more than a dozen claims against her in Saline County.
It's something the Phelps family wishes they would have known about before Karen welcomed Kim her into her home. "The elderly should really watch who they let in their household like that, added Ron.
The state's attorney is still investigating and says dozens of other charges are possible.
Ital is in the Saline County jail on $150,000 bond. If convicted, she could face more than 40 years in prison.
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