EVERETT — An Everett woman faces up to nine months in jail for fleecing developmentally disabled adults who counted on her to pay their bills and buy groceries so they could stay in their homes.
Amanda Rios had twice indicated she planned to plead guilty to theft charges. The last time, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Teresa Cox advised Rios and her attorney that prosecutors would add charges and tack on aggravating factors if the case went to trial. If a jury found that the victims were particularly vulnerable or Rios abused her position of trust, she could have faced prison time.
Rios pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of first-degree theft and two counts of second-degree theft. The aggravating factors remain but because they weren’t part of a jury verdict, a sentencing judge can’t go outside the standard range.
Rios is scheduled to be sentenced in March. She remains out of custody.
The defendant was accused of bilking at least three clients out of nearly $9,000. The thefts left two clients without electricity.
Rios, 26, worked for Smithwright Services, a Lynnwood nonprofit that advertises supportive services for adults with developmental disabilities. Rios was hired as a manager in May 2014 and assigned to help pay clients’ bills and make sure they had necessities.
The administrator told an Everett detective that “their clients are not mentally capable of doing any of this on their own,” Cox wrote in charging papers.
The missing money came to the attention of an agency administrator in late December 2014. Electricity had been shut off to a house where two clients lived and the cable and phone bills also hadn’t been paid.
Clients’ bank accounts had been overdrawn. Checks had been written on the accounts, but the clients never received any of the money or goods purchased. Two clients also were missing their state electronic benefits cards. A third woman, who lived at a different address, also had money taken from her bank account.
An audit of their bank accounts revealed that Rios had written checks to herself from the victims’ accounts, Cox wrote. She also used unauthorized checks at various stores, including Fred Meyer and Home Depot.
Rios was fired in late 2014. That didn’t stop her from stealing from clients. Police were told that when she was terminated, Rios didn’t have the company computer or clients’ checks with her. She was allowed to leave to retrieve the items. During those two hours, she wrote additional checks against clients’ accounts and withdrew money.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; email@example.com.
Help for disabled victims of exploitation
If you know a senior or someone with disabilities who may be the victim of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation, the state offers resources. For long-term care adults, call 800-562-6078. For all others, call 866-363-4276. Additional resources are available at the state attorney general’s website at www.atg.wa.gov/vulnerable-adult-abuse.