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Woman Charged with Credit Card Theft

Police say she stole from wheelchair-bound woman.

It's bad enough to have multiple sclerosis and be confined to a wheelchair. But finding out you've been victimized by the person taking care of you is another thing, entirely.

YET THAT'S what Fairfax County police say happened to a woman who lives on Willoughby Newton Drive in Centreville's Willoughby's Ridge community. And Det. James Reid explained the details of the case in a May 5 affidavit for a warrant to seek possible evidence in the caretaker's room in the victim's apartment.

He wrote that the victim, whose name Centre View is not revealing, made arrangements with a woman named Pamela H. James to be her caretaker. In exchange, James received free room and board in the victim's home.

James had her own bedroom and was the only resident, besides the victim. And if any visitors came to the apartment, the victim knew about them.

According to the detective, on April 15, MBNA notified the victim that there was unusual activity on her credit card. This card was a re-issue that the victim had requested; but she told MBNA that she had never received the card and, therefore, had not charged anything.

MBNA then cancelled the card, but it also advised the victim that, on April 13, the card was activated using the phone at her address. "The personal identification number (PIN) was changed when the card was activated," wrote Reid. "There were numerous automatic teller machine (ATM) transactions on April 13, 14 and 15, 2006."

On May 3, the detective arrested James, charging her with unauthorized use of the victim's vehicle. She was also charged with credit-card theft and driving on a revoked or suspended license.

He noted that she has four prior felony convictions, including credit-card theft and a drug offense. And according to Circuit Court records, on July 1, 1978, James was sentenced to 10 months in jail for distribution of controlled drugs.

Then on Nov. 14, 1997, she received one-year suspended sentences for each of two counts of credit-card forgery. Also that same day, she was sentenced to a year in jail for grand larceny of a credit card.

In his affidavit for a search warrant, Reid wrote that he wanted to look in James' bedroom for the victim's credit card, proceeds of financial crimes and any records and documents of financial transactions. He also planned to inspect any books, receipts, notes, ledgers, safes, boxes, bags and compartments he found there.

On May 5 at 2:02 p.m., police executed the search warrant and seized a shoebox containing suspected drug paraphernalia. James is currently being held in the Adult Detention Center on a total of $12,500 bond and has a July 11 court date.