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A Taylorsville woman is facing multiple criminal charges for allegedly stealing more than $12,000 from a local senior citizen’s checking account and, in a separate case, for allegedly obtaining controlled substances by lying to numerous doctors about her need for medication.
Taylorsville Police are working both cases, in which Jacqualine A. Ballinger, 43, of the 300 block of Washington Street, faces 23 felony counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and four felony counts for attempting/obtaining a controlled substance by fraud/faulse statement/forgery. Court documents also have an alternate address on Cecil Noel Road listed for Ballinger.
A Spencer County Grand Jury indicted Ballinger Dec. 20 for the 23 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. According to the indictment, Ballinger forged 23 separate checks totaling $12,452 between Aug. 16 and Oct. 21 on the account of 93-year-old Arnettia Lawrence, who according to police, is Ballinger’s landlord.
TPD Officer Daniel Wills is investigating the case and said Ballinger had access to Lawrence’s checks because she assisted Lawrence with daily household chores.
“She was kind of like a caretaker,” Wills said. “She cooked her meals. She also rented a house that is next door to Mrs. Lawrence.”
Wills said family members reported the incident when Lawrence received a bank statement that her checking account was overdrawn. Wills said the family members filed a complaint with Spencer County Attorney Ruth Hollan’s office, who turned it over to Taylorsville Police for investigation.
Wills said when he questioned Ballinger about what she was doing with the money, she requested an attorney.
“When I interviewed her, she actually asked for a lawyer,” Wills said. “She never really stated what it was over.”
Public defender Stephen Wright is representing Ballinger.
When asked if Wills believed the forged checks case was related to Ballinger’s attempts to obtain controlled substances, he said he did not want to speculate.
“I have no evidence of that, without her giving me a statement,” he said.
Ballinger’s next court appearance for the forged instrument charges is a disposition hearing Feb. 21 at 9 a.m. in Spencer Circuit Court. A trial date could be set at that time. Ballinger is currently on monitored conditional release.
Ballinger faces separate controlled substance-related charges in Spencer County District Court. TPD Officer Kenneth Bledsoe is investigating the case in which Ballinger is charged with four counts of attempting/obtaining a controlled substance by fraud/false statement/forgery. Bledsoe said the charge basically means Ballinger allegedly lied to doctors, telling them she had not received a prescription from any other physicians for specific medications, when, in fact, she had.
According to the warrant, “The above named defendant unlawfully (and) knowingly misrepresented herself to a physician by withholding information to obtain prescriptions for hydrocodone.”
The warrant goes on to state, “Affiant states that defendant did not inform the various doctors that she had obtained a previous prescription.”
Bledsoe said police pursued the case after receiving a tip that Ballinger might be “prescription shopping” for controlled substances, such as hydrocodone — a well-known and addictive opiod often abused because of its euphoric and sedative effects.
Law enforcement checked the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting system, known as KASPER, and found that Ballinger had multiple prescriptions for hydrocodone, one prescription for tramadol and another prescription for oxycodone filled between October 2010 and July 2012. Some of the prescriptions noted on the arrest warrant were not obtained in Taylorsville, meaning Ballinger could face additional charges outside of Spencer County.
Ballinger is scheduled to appear in Spencer District Court Jan. 25 at 10:30 a.m. for a preliminary hearing regarding the controlled substance charges.
According to a recent court hearing, Ballinger is seeking help from Seven Counties Services and is receiving drug tests there.