The following article was written by Betsy Sundquist.
A Golden Valley woman has been sentenced after pleading guilty to illegally using her grandmother’s debit card to withdraw cash from her checking account 19 times between May and July.
In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Molly Ann Ahern, 37, pleaded guilty to credit-card fraud, a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. In exchange for her plea, a second felony theft charge was dropped.
According to the criminal complaint, the Woodbury victim reported to police in July that she had noticed a lower-than-expected balance in her checking account. Upon reviewing the account’s transaction history, she discovered a number of suspicious cash withdrawals beginning in May and continuing until mid-July.
The transactions were all cash withdrawals, made late at night or early in the morning, when the victim said she wouldn’t be doing any banking. Also, four of the transactions occurred in Oakdale, and the woman said she didn’t bank there at all.
The woman learned that Ahern, her granddaughter, had confessed to her mother that she had used the check card without permission. Authorities determined that Ahern stole $3,700 from the victim in a number of cash withdrawals of $100 or $200.
The victim told police that Ahern knew her garage code, and that if she had entered her garage late at night, she might not have heard her come in because she is hard of hearing.
Authorities also discovered that Ahern had pawned 19 pieces of sterling silver flatware at a St. Louis Park pawn shop on July 5. The victim determined that she was missing a number of spoons and forks, and told investigators that she had gone out of town over the Fourth of July weekend, and that Ahern likely stole the silverware then.
The silverware was recovered and returned to the victim.After pleading guilty to credit-card fraud, Ahern was placed on 10 years’ probation, and also was sentenced to 26 days in jail, with credit for 26 days already served. She was ordered to make restitution to her grandmother and pay a $200 fine or perform community service in lieu of the fine.