Woman jailed for exploitation of elderly person

A Tunnel Hill woman remained in the Whitfield County jail Thursday afternoon on a $7,500 bond after being charged with exploitation of an elderly person.

Wendy Lynn White, 36, of 1318 Shadow Ridge Drive, was arrested Wednesday after a two-month investigation into allegations she used her 79-year-old neighbor's debit card to rack up "hundreds" of dollars in charges and purchases.

"There were several charges on her account along with online shopping, Wal-Mart gift cards, iTunes purchases as well as some cash back on purchases," said Whitfield County Sheriff's Office Detective Jeff Wells. "The elderly lady's niece alerted us of the charges, and we found out she had given her card to her neighbor to make purchases for her at The Dollar Store and grocery store, but she had not authorized any other purchases."

Wells said while elderly people in most cases know to be cautious with their cards and money, it is often someone who is trusted who takes advantage of the situation.

"Unfortunately, it is becoming more common," Wells said. "Banks are getting more involved with charges and notifying us as well, so these kinds of crimes are starting to grow. They are just being recognized more. Nine times out of 10, it will be a family member or friend -- someone they are close to."

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