Woman charged with stealing from mother

A Medford woman suspected of using her elderly mother's identity to obtain credit and rack up a $15,000 debt has been charged with felony theft and criminal mistreatment.

Tanya Lee Angel, 46, is set to appear Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court on charges of identity theft, first-degree aggravated theft, forgery, criminal mistreatment, four counts of first-degree theft and one count of second-degree theft. She has not been arrested.

A family member called police in October when Angel's 86-year-old mother started getting phone calls from creditors, said Medford police Lt. Tim Doney. Police allege that between February 2005 and April 2006 Angel opened numerous credit accounts in her mother's name and incurred $15,000 in charges. A Jackson County grand jury indicted Angel on Aug. 10.

Angel had been living in a Poplar Drive apartment with her mother since the older woman underwent heart surgery, Doney said. The crime came to light after Angel's mother moved to a Medford assisted-living facility.

Criminal mistreatment was alleged because Angel was considered her mother's caregiver, Doney said. Oregon law specifically defines the crime as the theft of an elderly person's money, among other circumstances, he added.

The case is the second filed this month against the daughter of an elderly theft victim.

"It's becoming more of a common occurrence," Doney said, adding that such crimes often stem from suspects' addictions to drugs, alcohol or gambling.

"In times past, it was pretty hard to fathom that a family member would steal from another family member," Doney said. "Seniors make attractive victims, unfortunately."

In a separate case, Patricia Joan Hurley, 54, of Medford, is wanted on charges of first-degree theft and forgery, as well as criminal mistreatment and identity theft.

Hurley is accused of opening credit card accounts using her 85-year-old mother's identifying information and eventually racking up about $64,000 in debt.

Hurley also is suspected of stealing her mother's Social Security checks and depositing them into her own bank account while writing checks against her mother's bank account, said Medford police Sgt. Mark Bell.

Hurley was paid $1,000 per month out of a trust fund to care for and live with her mother under the terms of a temporary court-ordered guardianship, Bell said.

Yet the guardianship agreement was signed in Circuit Court a month after the crime came to light in August last year.

Another party was appointed guardian of Hurley's mother in October, and Hurley was convicted in November of violating a restraining order obtained on her mother's behalf.

Hurley was indicted Aug. 2 and has not appeared in Circuit Court to hear charges against her.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail slemon@mailtribune.com.

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