MILL CREEK — As her mother lay in a coma for months, prosecutors say a Cheney woman fraudulently gained financial power of attorney, withdrew tens of thousands of dollars and tricked friends and family into raising money.
During that time, none of the money actually went to help her mother, who is now 63, wrote deputy prosecutor Halley Hupp.
Jaclyn Nichole Singleton, 42, was charged in Snohomish County Superior Court on Dec. 21 with forgery and first-degree theft.
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.
Singleton’s mother could barely move. She was hooked up to a ventilator and placed into a medically induced coma.
“You never think that you won’t be able to hear someone’s voice the next day when you send them to your voicemail or send them a text instead of calling them,” Singleton wrote on the GoFundMe page.
Singleton gave updates through the following months, noting her mother’s progress. She talked about the power of positive vibes and prayer. She claimed the money raised would go toward medical bills, mortgage payments and taking care of her mother’s horse and two cats.
Singleton also allegedly asked her mother’s friends and family to help with bills and payments. One of those friends, a small town judge in New York, reported that Singleton needed help paying her mother’s bills. The judge said she paid for two months of the mortgage, for March and April, totaling $3,900. She wired another $1,000 in April, when Singleton called for help again to pay medical bills.
Her mother came out of the coma in April 2018 and went through a months-long physical rehabilitation. First she could move her shoulders, then her arms. A video on Facebook posted that fall shows her triumphantly walking out of a rehabilitation unit.
As she continued to recover, she moved in with Singleton for a few months before returning to her Mill Creek home.
Once home, she soon realized her daughter hadn’t paid her medical bills, mortgage or anything else that needed to be paid. Yet Singleton had allegedly gained power of attorney and made transactions on her mother’s account totaling at least $70,000.
Others with knowledge of the circumstances, including Singleton’s brother, told police that Singleton had documents for power of attorney drafted at her work at a law firm in Spokane, where she was a paralegal. Her brother recalled Singleton saying how difficult it would be to get the documents legally notarized, since their mother was already incapacitated. The brother said he never saw the documents and doubted they were ever finished, at least legally, due to the challenges of getting a legitimate notary stamp.
In April and May, Singleton reportedly signed forms to have more than $41,000 of her mother’s retirement savings dumped into her mother’s bank account. Investigators confirmed Singleton used her mother’s accounts by reviewing bank records and obtaining photos of her at the bank where she accessed her mother’s accounts.
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 coffeeshop. She 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 is prolific on social media. On Dec. 31, she responded on Facebook to an inspirational quote encouraging people to be OK with others not knowing their side of the story.
“Absolutely!!” she wrote. “I’ve learned this last year and a half that people will say and do anything to get people to believe their version of you. That’s completely fine with me, I know the truth and the people I care about and want in my life do too and to me that is all that matters!”
Her Facebook page recently was set to private.
According to charging papers, Singleton has indicated through her attorney that she could plead guilty to both charges. In return, prosecutors would agree not to file numerous identity theft charges and wouldn’t ask for an exceptional sentence. If the plea agreement is reached, Singleton likely would be required to pay at least $70,000 in restitution.
Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @zachariahtb.