Every once in a while, the news events that derive from Pacific County are startling. Mostly not, but when there is bigger than usual news, it catches my attention.
Nursing home worker sentenced for stealing from residents
PACIFIC COUNTY, Wash. – Sandra Gilbert was trusted to watch over the accounts of nursing home residents, but instead she stole thousands of dollars from them to support a slot-machine addiction.
The sentencing marked the end of a scheme that bilked nursing home residents for nearly $60,000.
As business manager at Willapa Harbor Care Center in Raymond, the 63-year-old paid herself with funds taken directly from accounts of seniors on Medicaid.
Gilbert cashed the checks by stealing the identities of two co-workers. She said she used the money to feed her gambling habit – one forged check at a time. Most of it was lost in slot machines at the Shoalwater Bay Casino in Tokeland.
The Pacific County judge sentenced Sandra Gilbert to 10 years in prison and she must reimburse the people she stole from. However, some have passed away since she took their money.
Sandra Gilbert has prior convictions for embezzlement, burglary and forgery dating back to the 1970s.
read entire article and video snippet at NWCN.com
This is not an unusual story, but when it hits this close to home, it is more startling. We, in Pacific County, are a group of small communities and a sense of neighborly trust. It is disheartening to read this news of a person in the community going to deliberate lengths to both hide and feed her own bad habit at the expense of vulnerable people in her care and charge. Being driven to believe she could take the steps she did because of a compelling ‘addiction’ over which she has no control as she claims is one thing, but in light of her prior convictions that include same kinds of behaviors with embezzlement, burglary and forgery, it becomes a coat of a different color. She is a learned thief, a practiced thief, hired into a position of trust. Sad, sad, sad.