Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2011

By Shavonne Potts
A Rockwell woman has been charged with stealing and cashing checks from a 91-year-old woman for whom she worked as a caretaker.
Tina Smith Poteat, 50, of 304 Crescent St. Apt. 3, faces charges of larceny of choice in action, exploiting a disabled or elderly trust and nine counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, all felonies.
She was booked into the Rowan County jail under $50,000 bond Wednesday evening.
Authorities say the fraud happened over a nine-month period. The victim, of Gold Knob Road in Salisbury, had checks written to Poteat and two relatives of Poteat who have not been charged.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office was notified Monday after Sue Misenheimer, who is the victim’s power of attorney, noticed several checks missing from the residence.
Misenheimer checked records and determined the checks had been written to “unauthorized people,” Capt. John Sifford said.
An officer contacted the victim’s bank, obtained copies of the checks and reviewed video to see who cashed the checks.
Investigators interviewed Poteat, who they said gave them a check from her purse that belonged to the victim.
Reports do not indicate where the money was spent. The investigation continues.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.