A 56-year-old woman was sentenced to a month in jail for taking tens of thousands of dollars from her elderly father to cover her own expenses and make occasional visits to a Toppenish casino.
Kelli Rae Ling was given permission to serve the time on work release if she's eligible. The Kennewick woman pleaded guilty earlier this month to first-degree theft.
"I obtained a Power of Attorney for my father. I commingled his funds with my funds, and I spent money gambling," Ling wrote in her plea statement.
According to court documents, Ling had two joint US Bank accounts with her father, who now is 87 and suffers from dementia. The money belonged to Ling's father and she didn't contribute to either account.
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As of August 2011, there was more than $100,000 in the savings account and $900 in the checking account. By November 2012, there only was $68 in savings and $116 in checking, documents said.
Ling also reportedly had two individual accounts with the bank.
US Bank records show numerous withdrawals from the joint accounts in those 15 months. They included 17 transactions totaling $16,627 using a bank card to transfer funds into Ling's personal account and at least 31 transactions totaling more than $13,000 using different bank cards to withdraw cash. Six of the withdrawals were made at Yakama Legends Casino.
Records also showed numerous checks written on the joint account for groceries and other personal expenses, court documents said.
Ling withdrew $80,000 from the savings account June 6, 2012, and put it in her own account. When asked about it by an Adult Protective Services investigator, Ling claimed her father had paid for a $50,000 vehicle for her brother and felt it would be fair to allow herself to use the same amount of money, documents said.
The Adult Protective Services investigator suggested to Ling in December 2012 that she should return the money to her father. The following day, she deposited $54,000 into the joint checking account, documents said.