A judge sentenced a Thurston County woman to three to six months in a residential drug-treatment facility Tuesday for stealing more than $1,000 from her ill grandmother.
The grandmother, who lives in Rochester, had written to the court that because of her finances, “my medicines and my physician visits are about all I can manage.”
Jennifer Lynn Lambert, 26, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of second-degree theft, two counts of second-degree identity theft, two counts of forgery and, in connection with a separate matter, one count of possession of methamphetamine.
Several other criminal counts were dismissed in return for her guilty plea, and the prosecutor agreed to recommend that she spend the time in treatment as part of a “drug offender sentencing alternative.”
Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor imposed the recommended sentence and ordered that Lambert must pay fines and restitution and spend two years in community custody after she completes treatment.
Lambert’s attorney, Paul Strophy, said in court Tuesday that Lambert stole from her grandmother because of her substance-abuse problems.
According to court papers:
Sheriff’s deputies began investigating Lambert in November, after Lambert’s sister had reported that her grandmother had recently received a call from a clerk at The Money Tree in Tacoma. The clerk stated that “Jennifer was there to cash one of (the grandmother’s) checks and they were calling to get authorization.”
At the time, Lambert lived above a detached garage on her grandmother’s property.
Lambert’s grandmother told the clerk she had not authorized her granddaughter Jennifer to cash a check. She then checked her box of checks and saw that some were missing.
The grandmother authorized another granddaughter to visit her bank on her behalf. That woman discovered that about eight of her grandmother’s checks, totaling $1,054, had been fraudulently cashed.
In February, about a month after Lambert was charged, she was arrested on Interstate 5 in Thurston County on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine. She additionally pleaded guilty to that charge.
During the court hearing, Lambert’s boyfriend also pleaded guilty to participating in the theft. He received the same plea deal and sentence.
In a letter to the court in January, Lambert’s grandmother asked that the judge allow her to see her granddaughter upon her release.
“Jennifer Lambert has lived with me since she was a baby,” she wrote. “I know that what she did was wrong, but I do not feel that I should be left without any assistance. I am not in good health and have difficulty doing the yard work.”
Tabor allowed Lambert to have only written correspondence with her grandmother for now, but that may change after she is released from treatment, Strophy said.