Caregiver gets jail time after stealing thousands from dying elderly man and his wife
TACOMA, Wash. -- Grieving widow Jean Longchamps said she got justice for Christmas.
A caregiver who admitted to stealing from her and her dying husband was sentenced in late December, more than a year and a half after she was accused.
The Tacoma mother got the maximum sentence, and some tough talk from the judge.
"Her conduct towards Ms. Longchamps was predatory, period," said Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson, of Katherine Jenkins, who worked just two days inside the dying man's home.
Jenkins was hired to help Armand Longchamps be comfortable, fix his meals and take care of household chores.
"He insisted that he spend his final days in his own home, that's where he wanted to be" said Armand and Jean Longchamp's daughter Joanne Tollefson.
A special task force in Pierce County works to prosecute crimes against the elderly.
The judge told Jenkins the county takes crimes against vulnerable seriously and is committed to prosecuting such cases.
"I am sorry for what I did," said a sobbing Jenkins in court.
He gave her the maximum sentence of 12 months, requested by the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office.
"These crimes, this is not shoplifting, not stealing out of Winco this is calculated," insisted Cuthbertson.
Jenkins was hired to help Armand Longchamps, but instead, Jean Longchamps said Jenkins helped herself to their bank account information.
Nearly $5,000 spent at Home Depot, Chevron, Amazon, JCPenny and Lowes.
"I'm not this evil person you described, I'm a person who made a horrible mistake during the time where my life and everything was falling apart," Jenkins told the judge.
"This wasn't a one shot deal, oh I made a mistake," the judge said.
Jean Longchamps said instead of grieving her husband of 60 years, she's been paralyzed by the case as its dragged on.
In some cases, because Jenkins was a no-show in court. She said medical emergencies kept her away. At one point, a judge issued a bench warrant for her arrest.
KOMO News first told you of the Longchamps plight more than a year ago, back then Jenkins denied any involvement - even when we showed her bank statements with her name on them. She insisted it was a different Katherine Jenkins.
Jean Longchamp's family, her three children, Joanne, Ron and Joyce followed the money trail, did their own detective work and stayed on the case.
They believe Jenkins got their bank information from the couple's checkbook,which was kept in a desk drawer in their dining room.
"The checkbook was not out in the open...to find their banking information two days later she was online paying her bills using their stolen information," Tollefson said.
This summer, Jenkins pleaded guilty to identity theft and theft in the second degree and in late December, the last chapter; Jenkins was sentenced to jail time.
"Our family will be able to put this awful chapter behind us, we will go visit dad at Tahoma Cemetary and tell him it's over and Merry Christmas," said Tollefson after watching Jenkins be handcuffed and escorted to jail.
They insist it's the closure they needed.
"It's over, it's finally over, " said Jean Longchamps, who said she hasn't been able to sleep through the night since the missing money was discovered. Her bank reimbursed her for the losses.
The family left the courthouse with a feeling of overwhelming relief, and not just for themselves.
"I'll feel at peace knowing she can't do it to anyone else that's my main goal,"Jean Longchamps said.
Jenkins sentence includes six months in the Pierce County jail and six of in-home custody.