Fraud victim forced to smoke crack, authorities say
Getting the 83-year-old woman high was part of the plan to financially exploit her, investigators believe.
By DAVID DECAMP
Published May 7, 2007
NEW PORT RICHEY - The weapon of choice to scam an 83-year-old woman in her home had no blade or bullet.
The elderly woman was told it was "hooty, " but it's more commonly known as crack cocaine.
Pasco sheriff's investigators have accused Theresa M. Stanley-Morgan, 41, of getting the victim to smoke the drug so she could obtain a credit card in the woman's name and run up at least $3, 289 in charges.
Stanley-Morgan admitted to police that she used Shirley Hathaway's name, birth date and Social Security number to open the account, a Sheriff's Office report said.
She told police she knew Hathaway had dementia and memory loss and would not know about the credit card.
However, Hathaway and a witness told investigators that Stanley-Morgan also forced Hathaway to smoke a lit crack pipe - telling her it was the "hooty, " the report said.
At least twice, they said, she got Hathaway high to make it easier to financially exploit her. The credit charges began in April.
Stanley-Morgan was held in lieu of $23, 000 bail at the Pasco Jail Sunday on charges of criminal use of personal identification, use of another person's ID without permission and retail theft, charges that mounted from April 28 to Friday night.
In his report, Detective William Lindsey said that more charges were pending and asked the court not to reduce her bail.
For at least six to eight months, complaints about Hathaway's west Pasco home in Greenbrook Estates have poured in to homeowners association president Buzz Olds.
Residents complained about gaping holes from torn-away screens at the backyard pool, and a flow of people in and out of the house, said Olds, who lives catty-corner to Hathaway.
"Who's over there and who's living there?" Olds asked. "All I know is the neighbors are calling constantly."
Neighbors said Stanley-Morgan had moved into Hathaway's one-story masonry home, between the Anclote River and south of old County Road 54.
Neighbors said Stanley-Morgan split with her husband, Douglas. Their now-vacant house in the same subdivision is in the final throes of foreclosure. It is set for a public sale Tuesday. Creditors are owed $185, 000, according to a court judgment in March.
In the past year, the Sheriff's Office responded to at least 10 calls involving the Hathaway home, once for a drug investigation.
The most recent dispatches were for the fraud investigation.
In February, Hathaway put up her home for $55, 000 to bail a man out of the Pinellas jail, records show. She did the same for another man with a $10, 000 mortgage in October.
Hearing the complaints, Olds said he called the Department of Elder Affairs twice to check on Hathaway.
On Sunday, Hathaway said she did not want to talk about the case. Another woman there also declined to comment.
David DeCamp can be reached at 727 869-6232 or firstname.lastname@example.org