04/22/05 — Woman gets 13 years in fraud case

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Woman gets 13 years in fraud case

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on April 22, 2005 1:47 PM

A career criminal who swindled a 90-year-old woman out of her life savings has been sentenced to up to 13 years in prison.

Louretha Mae King, 34, of Slaughter Street, already was serving a four-year sentence after being convicted in 2004 of 11 similar offenses.

Ms. King was convicted on 39 charges -- 13 counts each of obtaining property by false pretense, forgery and uttering. Ms. King had scammed $20,300 from the victim, police said.

A Wayne County Superior Court jury deliberated only 54 minutes before returning a unanimous verdict on all charges.

"She's just a con artist," said Assistant District Attorney Jan Kroboth, who prosecuted the case. "When people get your personal identifying information, it's scary to think what can happen to you."

Judge Paul L. Jones of Kinston sentenced Ms. King to 13 consecutive terms of 10 to 12 months in prison to follow the previous sentence.

"If you ever heard her talk," Mrs. Kroboth said of the defendant, "you would know she's a good talker and educated. She was pleasant and jovial in court."

Agnes Canady, the elderly victim who has since died, was the sister-in-law of the late long-time District Attorney F. Ogden Parker. Her sister and Parker's widow, Catherine Parker, had the victim's power of attorney.

Ms. King had worked two days for the victim. She was fired on the third day. But in that short time, she obtained the elderly woman's personal information.

When Ms. King was arrested, she was driving a Ford Explorer and had a piece of paper with the victim's personal information number on it.

Mrs. Kroboth said Ms. King also went to a lawyer's office in Clinton and obtained blank power-of-attorney forms. She filled one out for Ms. Canady and another for a second victim, Robert Goodson.

Ms. King was not tried for the crimes against Goodson, but he testified that he did not give her the form. The disabled man said his trust account had been set up by his father and that his brother had power of attorney.

Lawyer Charles Gurley did not put on a defense for Ms. King.

Although police Investigator Trey Ball said the money has been repaid to the family, Mrs. Kroboth said other families have been less fortunate. She said some have needed years to get their financial records straightened out.