Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

August 15, 2012

Pair charged with fraud on disabled man

TAHLEQUAH — Two Cherokee County women are facing felony charges for allegedly defrauding a disabled man out of about $1,100.

Delisa Mackey, 21, of Park Hill, and Deanna Arnold, 34, of Tahlequah, each face a count of exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult.

According to an affidavit prepared by Sheriff’s Investigator Gary Cacy, the victim had placed an advertisement at Workforce Oklahoma. He told Cacy he was looking to pay someone to do some cleaning, cooking, laundry and perhaps other errands.

A Tahlequah woman – who has not been charged in the case – answered the ad, and the victim hired her to start working at an hourly wage.

The victim told the woman after her first day that there was enough work for one other person, so on the woman’s second day, she brought along Mackey.

The victim paid the two women by check, and reportedly asked the first woman to fill the check out for him because he is legally blind. The victim then signed the check, and asked one of the women to record the entry into his check registry.

The next day, the Tahlequah woman brought along Arnold instead of Mackey. After work, the victim asked one of the women to fill out the check for the agreed-upon wage, and he signed the check.

Arnold returned with the first woman several more times and participated in the same process. The victim told Cacy he was later told by bank officials the amounts written on three of the last checks he wrote to the women were for substantially higher than the agreed-upon wages.

 Two checks had been written to Arnold for a total of $600, and the third check was written to Mackey for $500, according to court documents.

Cacy said the women claimed they told the victim about some personal issues they were facing – a child custody issue for Mackey, and rent and utility problems for Arnold – and that he agreed to allow them to borrow the money.

The victim told investigators he never offered to give the women loans.

Arnold and Mackey met with Cacy on June 29 with $1,100, and investigators returned the money to the victim.

Exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in prison.

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