An alleged drug addict is off to prison after making headlines last year when police reported the appalling conditions in which she kept her parents as she stole their money.
Authorities said Jennifer Elizabeth Croy, 41, took her parents out of an assisted living facility to stay with her, then stole more than $100,000 from them, claiming the family needed to pay off drug dealers whom her late brother owed money. The brother died from an overdose in 2012.
Croy used the cash to buy drugs for herself, police said.
While taking their money, Croy neglected her parents’ care, denying them food and medicine and keeping them in a filthy home infested with spiders, investigators said.
Croy was using the only bed in the home, making her parents sleep on a sofa. The house had no running water; the stove wasn’t working; the kitchen sink was full of what looked like “black tar”; and the rooms were cluttered and in disarray, police Cpl. Crystal Hatcher said during Croy’s July 30 preliminary hearing in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Hatcher said Croy’s 68-year-old father and 69-year-old mother told police they’d not had a full bath in weeks.
Croy took about $110,000 from her parents over a two-year span, monthly driving them to the bank to make withdrawals ranging from $5,000 to $8,000, Hatcher testified. Croy also took her parents’ medications, such as Oxycodone and Xanax, either to sell or to use herself, the officer said, adding Croy’s father has Stage 3 cancer.
Charged with four counts of exploiting an elderly person and two counts of neglecting the elderly, Croy pleaded guilty to the four exploitation charges before Judge Bobby Peters, who sentenced her to 15 years with five to serve in prison and the rest on probation. Her two charges of neglecting the elderly were dropped.
The judge ordered her to undergo substance abuse evaluation and treatment, to pay $60,000 in restitution, to have no contact with her parents, and to inherit nothing from her parents upon their deaths.
Croy was transferred this week from the Muscogee County Jail to the Pulaski State Prison in Hawkinsville.
Georgia has special laws to protect those 65 years of age and older, disabled adults 18 and older who are mentally or physically disabled, and residents of long-term care facilities.
Abuse of the elderly is increasingly common, according to the Georgia Council on Aging: “Every year an estimated 5 million, or one in 10, older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation,” the council says at www.gcoa.org. “Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23.5 cases go unreported.”