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Scarbro couple charged with exploitation, embezzlement by caretakers

By Jessica Farrish

For The Fayette Tribune

 SCARBO, W.Va. — Police arrested the caretakers of a disabled Scarbro man for allegedly stealing his monthly income and running up debt using his identity, Fayette County Sheriff Mike Fridley reported Monday.

Jeremy Jay Wriston, 33, and Janice JoAnn Wriston, 33, both of Scarbro, were charged with financial exploitation of an incapacitated adult and embezzlement by a fiduciary, following a police investigation, Fridley said.

Both are felony charges, and the victim is a relative, he added.

According to the sheriff, his office was notified Feb. 9 that the couple, then in the area of Paint Creek Road near Scarbro, had been misusing and misappropriating the funds of a physically and mentally challenged adult.

Police investigated and learned that the Wristons had promised to provide care for the male victim and assist with his daily needs. They had moved into the victim’s house in March 2016.

There was no indication that the suspects physically abused the victim, Fridley said, but they allegedly misappropriated several thousand dollars of his Social Security and disability income and disposed of some of his personal property.

Police alleged in criminal complaints that the Wristons also used the victim’s identity to run up debt.

Both suspects were arrested earlier Monday and each was released on a $10,000 bond following their arraignments in Fayette County Magistrate Court.

“The abuse or financial exploitation of the elderly or of mentally incapacitated adults is something we take very seriously,” said Fridley. “Just as we do with our children, we have a duty and obligation to protect these elderly and vulnerable members of our communities.

“The abuse or financial exploitation of our older citizens is simply unacceptable and any such conduct reported to the Sheriff’s Office will be thoroughly investigated and, if warranted by the investigation, criminal charges will be filed,” he added.

The incident remains under investigation by Fridley’s office.

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