A former part-time deputy in the Cowlitz County Coroner’s office is accused of using a dead man’s debit card to steal nearly $12,000 from his estate, The Daily News of Longview reported.
According to the newspaper, Jeffrey Wayne Hart, 44, of Castle Rock, is scheduled for arraignment Aug. 29 on charges of first-degree theft, identity theft, second-degree possession of stolen property (access device) and official misconduct.
Coroner Tim Davidson said Hart was fired upon his arrest Aug. 16.
The Daily News, citing court documents, said Hart responded to the Longview apartment of Larry Williams Sr., 65, on June 6 to conduct a death investigation. Williams was determined to have died of natural causes.
But on July 16, Williams’ daughter, Bobbi Schraeder of Wichita, Kan., contacted Longview police to report that her father’s debit card had been used after his death. Between June 8 and July 13, the card was used at businesses in Longview and Kelso to make $11,963 in ATM withdrawals and fraudulent purchases, police said. Surveillance footage showed Hart using the card, police said.
According to the Daily News, police said Hart admitted taking Williams’ card and using it, saying he was tempted due to “severe financial problems.” He said this was the only time he has ever taken the property of a deceased person.Hart had been employed part time with the coroner’s office since late 2009, working a couple of days every other week, Davidson said.