A Libby woman accused of stealing from an elderly woman in order to pay restitution to the same woman saw her suspended sentence revoked in Lincoln County District Court on Feb. 10.
Sherry Leann Lowry, 50, admitted to violating two terms of her probation stemming from a 2018 court case as part of an agreement with prosecutors. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed felony charges of theft and exploitation of an older person.
She will serve two years of a partially suspended 10-year sentence and is ordered to pay $15,880 in restitution.
Detective David Hall of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office began investigating Lowry in August after the caregiver of an 83-year-old woman contacted the agency. While handling the woman’s finances, the caregiver came across four checks totaling $15,880, court documents said.
The caregiver told Hall that the victim had grown forgetful and had difficulty remembering simple tasks. She took over the woman’s finances about two years prior, court documents said.
In an affidavit, Hall wrote that the victim could not recall whether she wrote the checks or if Lowry wrote them and had her sign. She also could not explain why she would have written the checks, Hall reported.
The caregiver had payment stopped on one of the checks, court documents said. She told Hall that Lowry owed the victim about $3,000 in medical restitution related to a prior assault.
During an Aug. 15 interview, Lowry allegedly admitted to asking the victim for the money. She told Hall that she wrote out the checks and had the victim sign them, court documents said.
Lowry told Hall she used the money to pay court fines and restitution, according to the affidavit.
“I asked Lowry if she thought it was wrong to take money from 83-year-old women to pay the restitution she owes that same woman,” Hall wrote. “Lowry thought there was nothing wrong with that.”
Lowry allegedly told Hall that she planned to get a job to repay the victim.
Hall later confirmed with the Lincoln County Justice Court that Lowry had paid about $4,541 in fees and restitution in cash, court documents said.
Lowry was serving a suspended six-year sentence for a felony charge of issuing a bad check. In 2017, Lowry pleaded guilty to the charge after writing bad checks at several area stores and with merchants in Flathead County. She was sentenced in January 2018.
Prosecutors said the scheme to borrow money from the 83-year-old and use it to pay restitution violated the portion of her probation relating to loans. The terms bar Lowry from going into debt without permission from her probation officer.
Lowry also admitted to failing to comply with all laws and ordinances as mandated by her probation terms.