Bank reimburses elderly theft victims - KMSP-TV

Bank reimburses elderly theft victims

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Talk about adding insult to injury.

Weeks after authorities charged a caregiver with stealing thousands from an elderly couple's bank account, the victims' family was told the bank would not reimburse them. The reason? The couple didn't discover the crime quick enough.

Parky and Jo Ann Latimer may remind you of your parents or grandparents. Both suffering from long term illnesses.

At first, Jo Ann tried to take care of her husband by herself. She really did try.

"He'd fall and I couldn't get him back up," she remembered. "I'd get him to the table and couldn't get him back in there."

So earlier this year the Paulding County couple hired a family friend to do the heavy lifting necessary in those golden years of life.

It would turn out to be one of the worst decisions they ever made.

"She cleaned me out of everything," claimed Jo Ann.

Pam Crowe faces multiple accounts of theft and forgery. Investigators say she cashed dozens of checks by faking the signatures of the elderly couple, sometimes even claiming it was a loan.

Jo Ann's daughter Tammy discovered the missing money when she tried to set them up for on-line banking. Pam Crowe was once married to Tammy's husband.

"I thought she said 28-hundred. And she said, no 28-thousand!" Jo Ann explained. Yep. $28,000 missing from the couple's checking account.

Daughter Tammy was livid. "Up to $3000 checks on a daily basis and nobody called to confirm that it was OK? Nobody checked signature cards?"

The bank did call once -- the first time the Latimers paid their caregiver Pam Crowe. That was for $250.

Much larger checks would follow with no one from the bank becoming suspicious of $28,000 in checks written to one person.

But when the Latimers asked Regions Bank to reimburse them, the family got a letter instead: "reimbursement is denied" because family members alerted the bank to the crime "beyond the 30-day time frame... as defined in the Deposit Agreement."

Thirty days to report a bank theft might sound reasonable. After all, the banks do send out a monthly statement. But that's assuming the crook isn't also stealing your mail.

"I'd say Pamela, did we get our bank statement?," said Jo Ann. "No ma'am. She was going, putting it in the car. That's the reason we didn't know she was doing that."

Paulding County investigators arrested Crowe twice... once for the missing bank money... where they found that mail in her car... again weeks later when the family realized she had also taken out a credit card in their name, charging another $16,000.

While out on bond, Pam Crowe started a GoFundMe account asking for donations to help fix up her 87-year-old father's house in Hiram.

That's where we found her. She had no comment and quickly closed the door.

"I don't want to be ugly, but I hold the bank responsible. I feel like you were negligent." said daughter Tammy Crowe.

The same day the Fox 5 I-Team called Regions Bank, a spokesman called back with a new decision.

Regions would "reimburse the funds that were taken from the account." Despite the denial letter send to the family, spokesman Jeremy King said the bank had "continued to actively investigate the case and gather additional information."

Husband Parky Latimer didn't live long enough to see the money returned. Less than a month after their caregiver was arrested, he died from complications from Parkinson's.

"From that day forward he never smiled… he never walked," Jo Ann said sadly.

"You think she broke his heart?" asked Fox 5 I-Team reporter Randy Travis.

"She did. She broke both our hearts."

 

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