Local

Authorities: woman ripped off senior citizens

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The family of a victim is upset after discovering, what authorities are calling, an elaborate form of elder abuse.

Fresno County Sheriff's detectives have been investigating the case for more than two years. They claim, Sharon Harrelson, 55, cheated several elderly people out of tens of thousands of dollars. Detectives know of at least four victims, but fear there could be more.

Michael Wyrick said, "I feel really silly in the end for trusting her, but she's very convincing."

Wyrick reached out to Sharon Harrelson after a friend from work told him about her. Harrelson touts herself as someone who can assist seniors with their long-term care by shielding their assets and helping them qualify for Medi-Cal.

But, Fresno County Sheriff's detectives tell a different story. They allege Harrelson befriended clients and had them deposit money directly into her account. Detectives began investigating her back in 2009, when her employer at the time, Soutas and Associates, alerted them about the alleged crimes.

Chris Curtice said, "She actually admitted to the company that she had embezzled some money, they fired her, and then they did an audit and found several thousand dollars had been embezzled from different clients."

So far, investigators have calculated 80-thousand dollars in losses. Michael Wyrick says his mom lost nine-thousand dollars in the scam. "I believe the information is skewed."

Steve Harrelson is Sharon Harrelson's husband. He claims she is a good person, who never stole money from anyone.

But, Michael and his mother say they know the truth. Which is why they're speaking out. "Our goal is to keep her from doing this to anyone else."

The Madera County Sheriff's Office, as well as California Department of Insurance, are assisting the investigation.

If you have any information, or believe you may be a victim, contact the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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scams, crimetracker, local, shannon handy
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