Ohio mom charged with theft from overseas soldier

MASSILLON, Ohio (AP) — A woman accused of stealing her son’s income tax refunds while he served with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan was arrested in a stolen car, authorities said Monday.

Jennifer Fletcher is suspected of withdrawing about $16,000 from her son’s account from March 2010 until April 2011 and forging his signature to cash checks in his name, apparently after agreeing to file her son’s taxes while he was away, police said.

The 42-year-old Fletcher also is suspected of depositing more than $1,200 from his tax refunds into her account, said Lawrence Township Police Chief Mark Brink.

Fletcher was arraigned Monday in Massillon Municipal Court and was being held on $150,000 bond, a court clerk’s office said Monday. She also was ordered to have no contact with her son.

Court records show she is charged with two counts of felony theft and one charge each of identity fraud and forgery. The records don’t list an attorney for her.

Police stopped Fletcher on Sunday in Brewster after a license-plate check by officers determined the vehicle she was driving was reported stolen. She was arrested on the felony warrants and was then interviewed by Lawrence Township police.

Fletcher’s daughter-in-law reported the alleged theft in May, and police filed warrants for Fletcher’s arrest in July.

Brink said Fletcher admitted to detectives that she used her son’s money.

“She used more than just the tax returns,” Brink said. “She used some of the money that was put into his account through the military.”

Fletcher used the money to make house payments, pay electric and telephone bills and buy pizza, Brink said.

Fletcher’s next court date is Sept. 24.

Police said a case also is pending against a man who lived with Fletcher at the time of the alleged theft. That man, 44-year-old Keith Hoover, was charged with complicity to Fletcher’s alleged crimes, and his case was to be considered by a grand jury, according to court records.

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