A 43-year-old Gering woman is accused of using funds she had access to as a power of attorney to write more than $70,000 in personal checks and for the purchase of a vehicle.

Melody Marsh has been charged with abuse of a vulnerable adult, a Class IIIA felony. Marsh was arraigned on charges on June 14 after being cited on the charge and is next scheduled to appear in Scotts Bluff County Court for a preliminary hearing on July 9.

According to a search warrant affidavit filed in Scotts Bluff County Court, a Gering Police investigator began an investigation in October 2018 after being notified by an adult protective services caseworker with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. The caseworker was able to provide financial documents from US Bank for a 94-year-old woman.

According to the records, which covered a period of time from December 2017 through July 2018, Marsh had allegedly issued more than $70,750 in personal checks to herself and others, including family members, on the woman’s account. The woman was identified as Marsh’s grandmother and Marsh had power of attorney over the woman’s medical and financial affairs. Most of the funds in the account were derived from the sale of the home of Marsh’s grandmother.

Records from the Department of Motor Vehicles showed that Marsh had purchased a 2005 Ford F350 pickup in April 2018. On the same day, she allegedly withdrew $17,500 from her grandmother’s savings account and wrote a cashier’s check to purchase the vehicle.

The investigator also observed more than $51,000 in additional debits from Marsh’s grandmother’s account for purchases at online companies and local businesses.

On Nov. 3, the investigator received a complaint from another bank, First National Bank, who notified authorities that large amounts of funds were being paid out of an account belonging to Marsh’s grandmother that did not involve care or benefit of the woman. The bank employee estimated that more than $20,800 had been spent at a lingerie retailer, for game tickets to Husker games, motel rooms and bills that were not the grandmother’s. The bank had put a hold on the woman’s account and required permission for all expenditures from the account.

Police also found that Marsh had allegedly put utility services to her home in her grandmother’s name, though the grandmother did not live at the home.

Police attempted to interview Marsh, who canceled the interview.

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Maunette Loeks is the digital news editor of the Star-Herald. Contact her at 308-632-9054 or by email at mloeks@starherald.com.

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