Morning News â€” Leslie Mielke
Jolene Flores appears before Seventh Judicial District Judge Darren Simpson Monday afternoon. The judge retained jurisdiction when sentencing her for one count of grand theft and one count of forgery.
Jolene Flores, age 58, was sentenced to the Idaho Department of Correction on Monday for one count of grand theft and one count of forgery.
On Nov. 1, 2011, Flores was accused of forging checks, taking money from her aunt's checking account. Her aunt is 87-year-old Desi Underwood. Flores was charged with one count of grand theft, one count of burglary and one count of forgery.
Flores pleaded guilty to the charges of grand theft and forgery on Nov, 26, 2012. The charge of burglary was dismissed on motion of the prosecutor.
At Flores' sentencing on Monday, Underwood's younger sister, June Mattson, was allowed to speak on behalf of the victim because Underwood is in poor health.
"She is now in a rest home and I'm with her," Mattson said. "She don't know much any more and wouldn't be able to tell you anything.
"Desi worked 47 years for the [Bingham] Title [& Trust] Company," she said. "She had no children and had done for nieces and nephews. Jolene was one of her nieces.
"Jolene went to take care of her," Mattson said. "[Desi] had $38,000 hid in a closet.
"My sister and I warned her but she wouldn't listen to us," she said. "The first time she went to a rest home, my sister and I put the money in a vault in a bank. About 1 1/2 years later, at Christmas, [Desi] said she had to get that money so we returned it to her.
"We made her promise that she would put it in a savings account," Mattson said. "She didn't want to be on welfare.
"Jolene finally got it," she said. "When [Desi] had to go to a rest home to recuperate, the state is now paying for her to be in a rest home.
"I've seen her go downhill," said Mattson. "She never wanted to be on welfare [but is] because of Jolene Flores."
When Flores was asked if she would like to comment she said, "I apologize to my family, community and the courts. I can't believe I did it.
"I love Desi," Flores said. "I'm sorry I did it. I'm scared and confused.
"Her money meant more to her than anything else in the world," said Flores. "I did not steal from her. I did write checks."
"This is a disturbing caseâ€”people taking something that is not theirs," said Seventh Judicial District Judge Darren Simpson. "You have compounded this because family members were involved.
"She had set aside $8,000 for people at Christmas," the judge said. "She was generous.
She trusted you; you were her care provider.
If she was mean to you, you "had every right to walk away and say I'm done," Simpson said. "You said you wanted to pay her back; to take what is precious to her.
"How you used the moneyâ€”just taking itâ€”became a habit," the judge said. "Your actions were mean and done out of spite."
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Paul Rogers said the family wants restitution.
Simpson sentenced Flores to serve not less than two years and not more than eight years in the Idaho Department of Correction for grand theft. She was also fined $1,200. Court costs area $240.50, restitution is $25,274.16 and payment for the public defender is $500.
For the second charge of forgery, Flores is to serve not less than two years and not more than eight years. She was fined $500 and must pay court costs of $240.50.
These sentences are to run concurrently.
Simpson retained jurisdiction in this case for 365 days. Flores was sentenced to a traditional rider program.
"I will receive a report about how you are doing and whether probation would be appropriate," Simpson said. "I expect you to work hard."
Flores is currently in the Bingham County Jail.