Sheriff’s Office: Fraud defendant targeted fire victim
WOODSTOCK – Law enforcement officials say the woman who died in a house fire early Friday was also the victim of a defendant who was charged hours later with three counts of fraud-related crimes allegedly committed in the weeks before the fire.
Maj. Scott Proctor of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office said the defendant, Barbara Ann Stickley, 67, of 110 Printz St., Edinburg, was also the caretaker for the fire victim, Judith Ann Coffman, 68, of 3662 Stoney Creek Road, Edinburg.
Proctor said the Sheriff’s Office is concentrating on the fraud case while the Fire Marshal’s Office continues to sift through evidence that could identify the cause of the fire.
“These are two separate incidents, but nothing has been found to link them together at this point,” Proctor said. “If anything is learned, we would follow up on that.”
Proctor said the fraud accusations against Stickley were reported to law enforcement officials “as a result of the investigation concerning the fire.”
Family members of Coffman described Stickley as her caretaker, Proctor said.
A criminal complaint states that Coffman filed a report at her bank that $2,715 in cash had been withdrawn from her checking account without her approval between Aug. 31 and Oct. 1. The withdrawals were conducted at an ATM machine.
The criminal complaint states that “Investigator G.R. Poe and Sgt. C.T. Baker completed necessary follow-up with BB&T Bank” on Friday. The resulting video surveillance depicted “evidence that the accused was responsible for these transactions,” the complaint states.
A news release states that a “third party service provider” reported the fire to the emergency communications center at 12:31 a.m. the same day. Shenandoah County fire and rescue crew members arrived at Coffman’s residence and found her body inside the burning building. The Sheriff’s Office, county Building Inspections Office and the Frederick County Fire Marshal’s office also participated in the investigation.
Proctor said the subsequent fraud investigation included execution of a search warrant in which law enforcement officials seized “miscellaneous documents.”
Stickley was arrested “shortly thereafter” on Friday without incident, Proctor said. She was charged with credit card larceny, credit card fraud, and obtaining money under false pretense.
Stickley was released from custody on $10,000 unsecured bond. She is scheduled to appear in Shenandoah County General District Court at 9 a.m. Friday.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or email@example.com