By BEA LEWIS, for The Laconia Daily Sun
LACONIA — A city woman is facing charges that she used "undue influence" to steal money from an elderly person in Gilford.
Demetra Marden, 43, was indicted by a Belknap County grand jury for forgery and on two counts of financial exploitation. Whether Marden is a family member, or served as a caretaker is not clear from court documents.
The forgery indictment returned Feb. 16, charge that the day after Christmas in 2014, that Marden altered a check on the alleged victim's account made out for $100 to $900, and that she committed the act in Laconia with the purpose to defraud.
One of the financial exploitation charges accuses Marden of taking more than $1,000 but less than $1,500 from the same person, at a time when she lacked the legal authority to possess or control the funds.
Police charge that the crime occurred between March 25, 2015, and April 30, 2015.
The remaining charge alleges that between Jan. 1, 2015, and April 30, 2015, Marden breached a fiduciary duty by not having a durable power of attorney, and knowingly taking more than $1,500 from an elderly adult, 60 years of age or older.
By law, a durable power of attorney names an agent to handle all of a person's affairs in the event that person becomes incapacitated.
Two of the charges are Class B felonies, potentially punishable by 3.5 to 7 years in prison upon conviction. The financial exploitation charge alleging the theft of more than $1,500 is a Class A felony potentially punishable by a maximum sentence of 7.5 to 5 years imprisonment.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt but rather an indication that an independent jury has voted, after hearing from police, that sufficient evidence exists to warrant a Superior Court trial.
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