On Wednesday, July 15, deputies arrested a Valencia woman after an incident in late June sparked an investigation. The 54-year-old suspect is believed to have physically abused her parents and forged checks in an amount greater than $950. The suspect was arrested in the morning and taken to the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station where she underwent booking and processing. Her bail was set at $70,000.
The first crime the suspect is being charged with is elder abuse and it is covered under California Penal Code 368 PC. Under the law, those over the age of 65 are protected against physical, emotional, or financial abuse. Some examples include not feeding a parent who needs help eating, hitting them, or berating them. The crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the nature of the crime and the defendant’s prior criminal history.
When charged as a misdemeanor the possible penalties include up to one year in county jail and/or informal probation. For felony charges, the possible penalties include up to four years in state prison and/or felony probation.
California Penal Code 470 PC describes the crime of forging as altering a document or falsifying a signature (signing someone else’s name). Much like elder abuse, forging is a “wobbler” in California that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. If facing misdemeanor charges, the possible penalties include up to one year in county jail and/or misdemeanor probation. For felony charges, the potential jail sentence is increased to 3 years, as is the potential probation.
If convicted on felony charges for both crimes, the suspect faces up to 7 years in jail – possibly more if additional aggravating factors are uncovered. The investigation is ongoing.