An unlicensed caregiver, Christine Garthright, was arrested on Wednesday by Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputies after being accused of financially exploiting a senior citizen from Dewey.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Garthright, age 51, met her victim by way of Craigslist. She started as a paid, “live-in” caregiver for her 89-year-old victim four years ago after moving to Arizona from Washington.
The victim is suffering from a recent stroke, is hard of hearing, cannot see well, and has occasional memory loss issues. He cannot drive so relied on Garthright for transportation when needed.
Garthright began self-appointed unlicensed caregiving duties about 4 years ago after travelling from Maryland. The 89-year-old victim requested and allowed her to work as a ‘live-in’ rent free in lieu of a salary. It was learned during this time the victim bought Garthright a car, bought Garthright’s daughter a car and paid her daughter’s rent in Washington state. Additionally, the victim paid several thousand dollars to fix Garthright’s teeth and occasionally paid to allow Garthright to visit her daughter in Washington.
In May of 2020, the victim’s daughter reviewed her dad’s bank account activities and found that between June of 2018 and May of 2020, Garthright wrote 26 unauthorized checks to herself and another 8 unauthorized checks to her daughter totaling more than $11,000.
The Yavapai County Sheriff assigned the case to a detective specializing in caregiver fraud.
It was discovered that Garthright used the victim’s ATM card without permission to withdraw cash and according the victim, stole several thousands of dollars from his safe. For a period of time, Garthright’s daughter also lived in his home.
In recent months, Garthright was gone from the home and not there to help with trips to the store or doctor’s office. She also became verbally abusive, using foul language consistently, and struck him in the face when he refused to provide money.
The detective obtained video of Garthright’s ATM transactions using the victim’s debit card. Garthright can be seen making cash withdrawals, turn away from view of the vehicle where the victim was sitting, and place cash in a separate pocket. There were occasions where Garthright would make 2 or 3 cash withdrawals in a single ATM visit and stuff the cash in her pocket. The victim confirmed that multiple cash withdrawals during a single visit were never authorized. A large amount of such transactions occurred in December of 2019.
As the follow-up continued, Garthright was no where to be found. In early July of 2020, the detective conducted additional follow-up with the victim as the investigation was winding down. The car he bought for her was also missing. On occasion, the victim confronted Garthright about the theft of monies and she replied, “Prove it, the police will never be able to get me!”
A trusted caregiver was now involved in assisting the victim.
In July of 2020, detectives located Garthright in Peoria. She essentially claimed all her actions were authorized by the victim while fully caring for the victim. Garthright was not arrested at that time. The detective returned to speak with the victim sharing what Garthright had claimed and victim was able to again refute all her claims.
At this point, the detective could prove a loss of more than $13,000, although it was likely the actual loss was much higher.
Later attempts to locate Garthright in Phoenix were unsuccessful and it was eventually learned she was staying in Florida. During this time, Garthright wrote the detective letters as late as September 1, 2020, claiming there was never any theft and in fact, the victim owed her money.
On September 21, 2020, the detective was contacted by the victim who received a phone call from Garthright indicating she planned to fly back to Arizona wanted to come see him (victim).
On September 23, 2020, Garthright did return to the victim’s home and was arrested by the detective. Garthright also knew she had been ordered to stay away from the victim several weeks prior or could be arrested for trespassing and she ignored the order.
Garthright was booked into the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges including Fraud Schemes, Theft, Computer Tampering, Trespassing and Forgery. Bond is set at $50,000.