Woman charged with stealing from disabled adult clients

2014-07-23T18:39:00Z 2014-07-24T14:37:04Z Woman charged with stealing from disabled adult clientsBy EDDIE GREGG egregg@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Prosecutors have accused a woman of slowly stealing thousands of dollars from more than 50 physically or mentally disabled adults who are clients at a Billings nonprofit where she used to do bookkeeping.

According to charging documents, 48-year-old Marcia Catherine Geraghty Ketchem used various methods over the last two years to steal — usually only a few dollars at a time — at least $4,800 from clients at Billings Training Industries, a non-profit that provides services, including employment, for adults

with physical and learning disabilities.

The alleged victims range from about 67 to 20 years old, court records say.

Ketchem is charged with exploitation of an older person with a developmental disability, common scheme. The charge is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years prison.

She made an initial appearance on the charge Wednesday in Yellowstone County Justice Court. Judge Pedro R. Hernandez allowed her to remain free from jail without bond, on the condition that she have no contact with any of the alleged victims, because she appeared in court as ordered.

A supervisor with Billings Training Industries referred the case to Billings police, Adult Protective Services and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services in May after an internal review found that Ketchem, a part-time clerical worker, had altered financial records and stolen thousands of dollars from 54 of Billings Training Industries clients, court records say.

In March, Ketchem was asked to leave the nonprofit. The nonprofit has 63 clients and two locations, one at 604 Hewitt Drive and the other at 917 First Ave. N., court records say.

Charging documents say that Ketchem intentionally mismanaged clients’ financial records and would enter clients’ paychecks for less then their actual value and then apparently pocketed the difference.

An investigator also found that receipts for purchases were sometimes recorded as more than the amount of money actually spent, again with Ketchem apparently keeping the difference.

Court records say that some of the $15 bonuses Billings Training Industries gave to its clients were not entered in the records that Ketchum oversaw.

While investigators were not able to determine a larger amount, Ketchum may have stolen than $4,800, court records indicate.

She is scheduled to be arraigned in District Court on July 31.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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