On Aug. 8, Shelly Danae Kent pled no contest to felony grand theft from an elder after taking money from her now 99 year-old grandmother, according to records from the Siskiyou County Court.

On Aug. 8, Shelly Danae Kent pled no contest to felony grand theft from an elder after taking money from her now 99 year-old grandmother, according to records from the Siskiyou County Court.

Kent and another family member were added to a bank account belonging to the grandmother, in theory to help the woman handle her finance, said Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus, who warned the public to be careful when considering adding another person to their bank account.

Essentially all of the money in the account was from Kent’s grandmother’s life savings and her monthly social security and pension payments, Andrus said. Kent obtained an ATM/debit card for the account.

“Without the knowledge of her grandmother or the other family member, Kent used the debit card to make purchases and ATM withdrawals,” Andrus said. When she entered her plea, Kent stipulated that she owed restitution for $10,048.91, for purchases and withdrawals made between July 1, 2018, and February 20, 2019, leaving the account “severely depleted.”

Both the bank and the other family member assisted law enforcement and had “absolutely no involvement whatsoever in any of the improper activities,” Andrus said.

Kent’s sentence will depend on whether, and how quickly, she repays the $10,048.91 restitution, Andrus explained, noting that Kent was previously convicted of misdemeanor embezzlement when she was employed at the Miner Street Station in Yreka in 2002.

Both the felony case and the 2002 embezzlement case were prosecuted by Chief Deputy District Attorney John H. Quinn.

Andrus warned people to be careful adding people to their account, even family members.

“Adding another person as a joint account holder does not just mean that the added person will get the balance upon the original account holder's death,” said Andrus.

It usually means that the added person can do whatever the original account holder could do, including withdrawing every penny from the account, and even overdrawing the account, leaving the original account holder in debt and with a damaged credit rating.

“There are usually other ways to accomplish your objectives, short of adding another person as a joint account holder,” said Andrus. “Before you take this or any other potentially risky decision, please take the time to discuss the matter with your financial adviser or banker. We will always investigate and prosecute as appropriate when the unfortunate occurs, but you can help us and yourselves with taking precaution in advance.”