WV Woman Sentenced For Elder Scheme

She will also have to pay restitution for what she stole.


Frederick, Md (KM) A Berkeley Springs, WV woman was sentenced last Friday in an elder theft scheme. Jennifer Renee High, 36, was given 15-years incarceration, with all but five years suspended. She will also be placed on five years supervised probation after getting out of prison, and must pay restitution of $90,000 to the victim, Diane Dwyer.

“We don’t see sentences like this enough, in my opinion, on these types of people who quite frankly exploit the vulnerable,” says State’s Attorney Charlie Smith. “We see it in child cases, but we don’t see it elder case. So we were really happy to get a substantial sentence against Miss High.”

High pleaded guilty on February 12th, 2019 to theft scheme between $10,000 to $100,000, and credit card theft from $1,500 and $25,000.

According to the State’s Attorney’s Office, High worked as caretaker for the victim’s disabled daughter. When Dwyer became ill in 2013, High volunteered to help out. She went on shopping trips for the victim, took money of out of an ATM and paid her bills on line.

In December, 2016, Dwyer told her family members that she did not have any money, and had received overdraft notices from the bank. Family members went over Dwyer’s bank account statements from the previous year, and found more than $22,000 in theft from the victim’s bank account. Smith says High was robbing Dwyer. “Basically what High had been doing unauthorized ATM withdrawals, she was paying her own bills, buying cars and spending money that wasn’t hers,” he says.

The family took this case to the Brunswick Police Department which interviewed High. The State’s Attorney’s Office says High admitted her crime to police, saying it had been going on for  a much longer period of time. High estimated the value of theft to be around $70,000. A review of bank records indicated total amount taken was $90,000. That included the fraudulent use of the victims; credit cards.

“A really, really sad case when you have an older person like this who was obviously vulnerable, that is seeking help from someone who they believe is helping them,” says Smith. “All along, the person was rippin’ them off, stealing money out of their ATM, buying cars, using the credit card.”

The State’s Attorney’s Office is holding several five presentations in June on elder fraud and prevention.

Frederick Senior Center
Wednesday 6/12, 5:30p Charlie Smith, State’s Attorney

Emmitsburg Senior Center
Thursday 6/13, 12:30p Jason Shoemaker, Chief Assistant State’s Attorney

Urbana Senior Center
Thursday 6/25, 6:00p Charlie Smith, State’s Attorney

Urbana Senior Center
Wednesday 6/26, 11:30a Jason Shoemaker, Chief Assistant State’s Attorney

Brunswick Senior Center
Wednesday 6/19, 12:30p Erin Pearl, Assistant State’s Attorney


By Kevin McManus