Woman arrested, charged in theft

By Alex Bridges

Authorities say a Front Royal woman defrauded an elderly Fauquier County resident under her care out of thousands of dollars.

Front Royal police arrested Gail Marie Henry this week after a Warren County grand jury indicted her on four felony counts of credit card fraud and one count of credit card theft, according to a police news release. Henry remains free on an unsecured bond pending her trial. She is scheduled to appear in Warren County Circuit Court on Nov. 15.

Police information indicates Henry, 51, of 37 Cloud St., Front Royal, used the woman’s bankcard without her permission to make purchases.

The ongoing investigation may likely lead to more charges against Henry, Front Royal police Sgt. Jason Winner said Friday.

The alleged victim, identified as 89-year-old Renee Speyer, employed Henry for several years. Winner said Henry took care of Speyer as a home health nurse, coming to the woman’s residence to make meals, do some light cleaning and other chores for her.

Speyer terminated Henry’s employment in November 2011 after it appeared the Front Royal woman had made fraudulent transactions on the victim’s credit card, the release states.

Winner noted that he’s investigated “quite a few” fraud cases involving elderly victims.

Speyer told detectives with the Warrenton Police Department that she noticed several unauthorized transactions on her BB&T bank card totaling more than $20,000, according to the release. Transactions occurred in August, September and October 2011. Speyer had not given anyone permission to use her card.

Warrenton police began their investigation and determined that most of the transactions occurred in Front Royal, Winner said. Warrenton police passed their findings on to Front Royal, where the investigation continued, Winner recalled. Front Royal police began their investigation earlier this year, he said.

“They did a very thorough investigation and that’s the reason for us getting into it later,” Winner said. “Then they realized that the tie to Warrenton, to Fauquier County, was only that the victim lived there.”

Warrenton police didn’t seek to place charges in Fauquier County because of issues over jurisdiction, Winner said.

None of the alleged fraudulent transactions occurred after Henry’s termination as Speyer’s caretaker, Winner said.

Detectives with police departments in Front Royal and Warrenton, along with a special agent of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, executed two search warrants in January 2012 at Henry’s homes at 37 Cloud Street and 75 Aileen Road, Flint Hill.

Authorities seized several televisions, clothing as well as miscellaneous mail, checkbooks and other documents from Henry’s homes. Hillside Motors also repossessed from Henry a 2005 Chevrolet Colorado pickup and a 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix in conjunction with the search warrants, according to the release.

Henry made the fraudulent charges locally to Hillside Motors, Kibler Furniture, Quality Inn and Capital One, according to Winner.

Henry was convicted in 2002 on several counts of grand larceny by embezzlement in Warren County, according to online court records. Henry was ordered then to pay nearly $20,000 in restitution and to serve some time in jail.

Anyone with further information about the current case is urged to contact Winner at 635-2111 or jwinner@frontroyalva.com.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com