By Natalie Johnson / firstname.lastname@example.org
A Winlock woman was charged Wednesday after being accused of stealing nearly $44,000 from the estate of a Lewis County woman.
Aurora S. Fulmer, 34, of Winlock, was charged Wednesday in Lewis County Superior Court with three counts of second-degree identity theft and one count of second-degree theft.
Superior Court Judge Andrew Toynbee granted her $10,000 unsecured bail, allowing her to be released pending her next hearing.
According to court documents, deputies from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office responded in February to a report of a theft.
They contacted a woman who reported that she recently came into possession of the belongings of her estranged mother after her death.
The victim reported that she met Fulmer in late January and she identified herself as her late-mother’s live-in caregiver, who was still living in the home.
Fulmer also reportedly said she held power of attorney, and provided a document that had one power of attorney crossed out, and Fulmer’s name in its place. The victim reported Fulmer’s name did not appear to be in her mother’s handwriting.
The victim reported that she began checking her mother’s bank information and found several suspicious transactions, including activity on an account that continued while her mother was hospitalized and after she died.
According to court documents, three of those transactions included $84.24 at a body piercing shop in Longview, $238 at a jewelry store and a $540 Western Union money order.
After further investigation, detectives spoke to a witness who told them Fulmer had attempted to leave a new will for the dead woman at her attorney’s office prior to her death, in which she crossed out other beneficiaries and wrote in her own name.
Fulmer also allegedly said that the mother had given her the house, the victim reported.
Detectives obtained video showing Fulmer withdrawing hundreds of dollars from the deceased woman’s account at an ATM.
Between Jan. 3 and Feb. 16, $17,000 was removed from the woman’s accounts, according to court documents.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported that $43,851.18 was fraudulently taken from the woman’s estate.