Family furious caregiver stole thousands from loved one


Reporter - Kendall Downing

SALINE COUNTY, Ill. - The Saline County state's attorney filed several charges Wednesday against 45 year-old kimberly Ital of Harrisburg including financial exploitation of an elderly person.

Investigators say Ital stole the identity of 72 year-old Karen Phelps.  Ital was taking care of Phelps and her dying husband.  Ital is accused of bilking Phelps, who was dementia, out of $80-90,000.

"We loved her to death.  She was absolutely super," said Ron Phelps, Phelps' brother-in-law.

He said there was no sign at first - Kim Ital had the heart to steal.

Phelps says the family hired Ital to take care of his brother who died in May.  Ital claimed she was a nurse, but now he knows that's a lie, too.

"She moved in there and acted like she was the most honest human that ever walked the planet, you know,"

Investigators took two vehicles from Ital's Harrisburg home into evidence.  They say Ital spent more than $25,000 of Karen Phelps' money and used a credit card to purchase a Hawaiian vacation, swiping thousands of dollars while on the trip.

Police also believe Ital stole a Kroger credit card and paid for her daughter's college tuition and even used the card to bail out her son at the Saline County Jail.

Scott Stout manages three local nursing homes.  He says they do background checks and look at sex offender registries before hiring anyone, and you should too.

"If you've got someone you're worried about ask them to do a background check with your local law enforcement," Stout said.

For Ron Phelps, it's lesson learned.

"It was a lesson with us. That was a slap in the face," he said.

Ital's bond is set at $150,000.  The Saline County state's attorney expects to file more charges.