Caregiver arrested after stealing $140,000 from 86-year-old man

ST. GEORGE – A 50-year-old woman was arrested Thursday for allegedly forging 40 checks and stealing $140,000 from an elderly couple she was caring for.

Officers were called to investigate a fraud incident after an 86-year-old man reported that his caretaker, Jayda Peterson Kaumans, of St. George, had been forging checks and stealing money from him, St. George Police Officer Terrance Taylor wrote in his probable cause statement supporting the arrest.

Jayda Peterson Kaumans of St. George, Utah, booking photo posted Oct. 2, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s booking, St. George News
Jayda Peterson Kaumans, of St. George, Utah, booking photo posted Oct. 2, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s booking, St. George News

The man told officers Kaumans had been a caretaker to both him and his wife for the last several years and that he had trusted Kaumans to the point that she was reconciling the couple’s bank accounts and paying bills using their home computer and QuickBooks program.

The man discovered Kaumans had been editing and manipulating the Quicken ledger and had been printing out checks to herself and forging his signature, Taylor said in the statement.

After extensive research, officers discovered a total of 40 checks Kaumans had printed out to herself, forging the victim’s signature and depositing the money into her own accounts, Taylor said. The 40 checks – each over $1,500 – totaled $140,000.

“Numerous documents were obtained as evidence,” Taylor wrote in the statement, “and it clearly showed the Quicken ledger had been edited.”

On Thursday, officers conducted an interview with Kaumans, who acknowledged her role in being the caretaker for the man and his wife, Taylor said. Ultimately, Kaumans confessed to having printed the checks out to herself without the man’s permission and having stolen the money.

The suspect was in a position of trust and confidence, Taylor said, and she knowingly, by deception, obtained the victim’s funds with the intent to permanently deprive the vulnerable adult of the possession of his money.

Kaumans was arrested and charged with 10 third-degree felonies for forgery and one second-degree felony for the exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

Kaumans was booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility on Thursday with bail set at $60,000. On Friday, 5th District Judge G. Michael Westfall ordered Kaumans’ bail reduced to $10,000. She has since been released from custody.

Financial exploitation

Research shows that as many as five million older adults are victims of financial exploitation each year, costing seniors an estimated $3 billion annually. Utah seniors are exploited out of at least $7.7 million each year, with the average victim losing just over $85,000.

As financial exploitation of older adults becomes more prevalent in the United States, Utah Adult Protective Services has joined a nationwide campaign to encourage older adults and their families to address the issue and get informed about the warning signs as well as resources available to help prevent abuse.

There are several signs of financial exploitation to look out for, including financial activity that is inconsistent with an older adult’s history; confusion about a recent financial arrangement; a caregiver or beneficiary who refuses to use designated funds for necessary care and treatment of an older adult; and an older adult who feels threatened by a caregiver who is seeking to control their finances.

The Utah Department of Human Services recommends that if someone is hired to help out in an older adult’s home, it should be ensured that the person has been properly screened with criminal background checks. Ask for certifications when appropriate.

“Financial exploitation can be prevented if people know the right questions to ask and where to turn for help,” Mary Twomey, co-director of the National Center on Elder Abuse, said. “Although it is a sensitive issue and one that can be difficult to broach, it is critical for families to address, and there are many useful resources available to guide them through the process.”

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Resources

  • To learn about preventing elder abuse, neglect or exploitation, or to obtain a free copy of Legal Guide 55, call 877-424-4640
  • A digital copy of “Protect Your Pocketbook: Tips to Avoid Financial Exploitation” is available online
  • Toll-free statewide phone number for reporting elder abuse, neglect or exploitation | Telephone: 800-371-7897
  • Five County Association of Governments Aging Services Division | Telephone: 435-673-3548

Related posts

Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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10 Comments

  • The Rest Of The Story October 5, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Wouldn’t be surprised if they were in church every Sunday…AND…temple recommend holders.

  • groanattack October 5, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Beware the SCUM that walks amongst you!

  • DesertBill October 5, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t read the article. Who is “they” to whom you refer?

  • Koolaid October 5, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Jayda… sounds like one of those weird made up names found in the ranks of those following a made up religion (hey, make up a religion, make up names. I get it!) I wouldn’t be surprised if Jayda was one of the worthy followers who deserves nothing more than a pat on the wrist for her lapse. Besides, look at how light a sentence that Esplin guy got for embezzling a whole lot more. Afford this woman your sympathies (your hearts going out) and give the poor girl a fundraiser.

  • Bobber October 5, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Hey, no one ever said it was cheap to remain worthy. Gotta get the $$$ somehow.

  • Zonkerb October 6, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Well a another politician in training

  • #fundraiser October 6, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Jayda doesn’t need a fundraiser. She was raising funds for all the other poor souls who have been caught in their own criminal schemes. Legal fees are expensive, you know. At this rate, funds are going to get depleted pretty darn fast.

  • Mary October 6, 2014 at 10:46 am

    As my father moves further into dementia , I am realizing how costly it is going to be to get care for him going forward .
    Were some d bag to drain $140,000 from him , life would be extremely difficult the following years .

    I do hope for the elder couple , that some of those funds can be recovered .
    I hope she isn’t an addict that burnt through the money already .

    There should be forced labor camps for bottom feeders like this AND
    Their entire paycheck should go to the people they robbed .

    !

  • sagemoon October 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Scum bag.

  • Bobber2 October 7, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Jayda Peterson Kaumans looks good in red prison garb.

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