MASSILLON, Ohio — A woman accused of stealing her son’s income tax refunds while he served with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan was arrested in a stolen car, authorities said Monday.
Jennifer Fletcher is suspected of withdrawing about $16,000 from her son’s account from March, 2010, until April, 2011, and forging his signature to cash checks in his name, apparently after agreeing to file her son’s taxes while he was away, police said.
Ms. Fletcher, 42, also is suspected of depositing more than $1,200 from his tax refunds into her account, said Mark Brink, chief of Stark County’s Lawrence Township Police Department .
Ms. Fletcher was arraigned Monday in Massillon Municipal Court and was being held on $150,000 bond, officials said. She was ordered to have no contact with her son.
Court records show she is charged with two counts of felony theft and one charge each of identity fraud and forgery.
Police stopped Ms. Fletcher on Sunday after a license-plate check by officers determined the vehicle she was driving was reported stolen. She was arrested on the felony warrants and was then interviewed by Lawrence Township police.
Ms. Fletcher’s daughter-in-law reported the alleged theft in May, and police filed warrants for Ms. Fletcher’s arrest in July.
Chief Brink said Ms. Fletcher admitted to detectives that she used her son’s money.
“She used more than just the tax returns,” Chief Brink said. “She used some of the money that was put into his account through the military.”
Ms. Fletcher used the money to make house payments, pay electricity and telephone bills, and buy pizza, Chief Brink said.
Her next court date is Monday.
Police said a case also is pending against a man who lived with Ms. Fletcher at the time of the alleged theft. That man, 44-year-old Keith Hoover, was charged with complicity to Ms. Fletcher’s alleged crimes, and his case was to be considered by a grand jury, according to court records.