MILL CREEK — A Cheney woman who stole from her comatose mother probably won’t go to jail.
Instead, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge George Appel ordered her last month to do 240 hours of community service — the equivalent of 30 days behind bars — and pay more than $63,000 in restitution.
Jaclyn Singleton, 42, pleaded guilty on March 15 to first-degree theft and forgery.
According to charging papers, Singleton’s mother had suddenly fallen ill in January 2018. The Mill Creek woman was getting ready for her work as a nurse practitioner, “like any other day,” when she collapsed, Singleton wrote in a GoFundMe that raised more than $5,000.
She was taken to the emergency room at Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, where she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack the nerves. The disorder can cause numbness and paralysis, and it can take months to recover. The woman was hooked up to a ventilator and placed into a medically induced coma.
Meanwhile, her daughter, Singleton, solicited help from friends and family. A small town judge in New York said she lent a helping hand, pitching in for two months of the mortgage, totaling $3,900, according to charging papers. The judge wired another $1,000 when Singleton called again asking for help with medical bills.
Behind the scenes, Singleton also moved to fraudulently gain power of attorney over her mother, according to charging documents. Transactions on her mother’s account totaled at least $70,000, prosecutors wrote.
Singleton reportedly told authorities that any money she touched was used to help her mother. However, investigators noted transactions that seemed unlikely to benefit her mother, including at grocery stores in Spokane and a coffee shop. Singleton spent money at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, even though nothing had been done to fix up her mother’s vehicle. And there were charges for Verizon Wireless, even though her mother doesn’t have an account with the company.
Singleton’s mother awoke from her coma in April 2018. She went through months-long physical rehabilitation, and stayed with her daughter for a while before returning home.
Once back in Mill Creek, she realized her daughter hadn’t paid her medical bills, mortgage or anything else that needed to be paid.
Singleton was charged in December. By then, she already had indicated through her attorney that she would plead guilty and agree to pay restitution. In return, prosecutors agreed not to file numerous identity theft charges and wouldn’t ask for an exceptional sentence.
Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @zachariahtb.