Source: The Daily Reflector| June, 2020
A nine-mont investigation by the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office has resulted in the arrest of a Greenville woman on charges of fraud, embezzlement and exploitation of elder trust.
BB&T Employees Spotted Red Flags for Fraud
According to a news release from the sheriff’s office, the investigation began in August, when the office was contacted by BB&T bank regarding possible elder exploitation.
A detective worked with the elder victim’s adult children and determined that the suspect, Heather Dawn Taylor, aka Heather Russ, 44, of Greenville, had been in a business relationship with their father, running Double Barrel Stables.
The detective worked with the fraud departments from multiple financial institutions, interviewed witnesses and examined financial records, the news release said. So far, he has been able to identify more than $300,000 in funds that allegedly were embezzled by Taylor from the victim, an elderly man with serious health conditions.
The suspect also allegedly paid other individuals to lie to the victim’s children, pretending that they were horse transporters who were bringing in money for the business, the release stated. These activities occurred while Taylor already was on probation for a previous fraud conviction.
A second elderly victim came forward during the investigation with information that Taylor had approached her wanting to start a stable and horse transport business. The victim produced evidence showing a similar pattern of behavior as with the first case, and said that Taylor obtained more than $1,000 from her before she became suspicious and cut ties, according to the sheriff’s office.
Taylor was arrested on Thursday and booked into the Pitt County Detention Center where she is being held under a $450,000 secured bond.
She has been indicted by a Grand Jury on two counts of embezzlement over $100,000, two counts of exploit elder trust and one count of obtaining property by false pretense.
Taylor has previous convictions of obtaining property by false pretenses and other fraud offenses, the news release said.
It is possible that there are other victims in this case. Those who believe that they have been a victim of Taylor may contact Detective Hines with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit at 902-2149.