An Idaho Falls woman who spent her father’s medical funds on personal items was ordered to pay restitution Thursday.
Janet Garrick, 56, was ordered to pay $10,882.61 to the assisted living center that had managed her father’s medical needs. She also must serve three years of probation.
District Judge Joel Tingey warned Garrick her probation could be extended if she fails to repay her father’s medical bills but added she could be released from probation if she pays the fine early.
Garrick was arrested in August 2018 and charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult after she failed to pay the assisted living center the full funds owed for their services. An investigation by law enforcement uncovered the victim’s Social Security and Veterans Affairs funds, which should have covered the full cost, had instead been used for personal purchases.
Defense Attorney James Pendlebury said Garrick did not understand her actions were illegal and did not use her father’s money with ill intent. He pointed to bank records that showed Garrick had attempted to pay her father back for the expenses.
“The problem is it just kind of got away from her a little bit,” Pendlebury said.
Pendlebury also said Garrick has no prior criminal history. He said she had friends in the community who were arranging events to help raise money to assist her with her legal expenses.
Bonneville County Deputy Prosecutor Tyler Dodge agreed a probation sentence was appropriate and that Garrick should be granted withheld judgment. He disagreed with Pendlebury about her intent, however.
Dodge pointed out that though Garrick said the money was to help her through difficult times, much of it was spent on phone bills, restaurants and cash withdrawals from an ATM. Dodge also said Garrick bought a house around the time the case was filed.
“She justified her conduct by asserting she was in financial trouble, yet the money that was spent or that was diverted from her father was spent on luxury items,” Dodge said.
Garrick said the house was purchased with her husband’s funds, and that the decision was in motion before her arrest. She apologized to the court and expressed regret for her actions.
“I didn’t realize I was doing wrong,” Garrick said.
In addition to the fine, Garrick was ordered to serve 100 hours of community service. Tingey granted withheld judgment, meaning the case can be dismissed if she completes her probation.