Trio arrested on 74 count theft indictment

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By Susan Sharp

Three women have been arrested on a combined 74 counts following the grand jury returning a sealed indictment.

LaFollette Police initially arrested Bonnie Cooper at her home on a sealed indictment last week. When Greta Cooper came to the jail, to post bond for Bonnie Cooper, her mother, she was arrested.

Tamara Harness, who rounds out the trio, was also arrested at her home. The group was taken into custody on multiple counts of theft and forgery, according to court records.

The trio had allegedly taken thousands of dollars from an elderly man in failing health, who they had befriended, said LPD Det. Jason Henegar.

An investigation was opened after the man’s daughter was contacted by a bank where she and her father shared an account. The bank wanted to inform her of “suspicious activity that occurred in the account,” Henegar said. After receiving this call, the victim’s daughter contacted the LPD.

“Once we began looking into it, we determined that Greta Cooper had been receiving checks from the victim,” Henegar said. Some of the checks were for sums such as $1,500. Henegar also said the amounts on some of the checks had been altered.

As the investigation unfolded, the amount of money allegedly pilfered grew.

When authorities questioned the victim, he said he and Cooper were friends. He also said she had been acting as his housekeeper along with running errands for him, Henegar said. Cooper contended the checks issued to her were for “personal expenses,” according to the LPD.

Police soon learned that the man had an account at another institution. When it became active after being dormant for a while, police were alerted to that activity. But this time, Greta Cooper was not the only one receiving checks. Her mother Bonnie Cooper, had allegedly become involved, court records indicate.

Making it a family affair, Greta Cooper’s daughter, Harness, accompanied the victim to a third bank, withdrawing all of the money in that substantial account, Henegar said.

“When we initially reviewed the evidence from that bank, we saw a female with him (the victim) we had never seen before,” Henegar said. However, police were soon able to identify Harness and connect her with the Coopers.

Last month, a restraining order was issued against the three women forbidding them from having contact with the victim, Henegar said.

Greta Cooper has the lion’s share of the charges. She is facing 30 counts of forgery, 19 counts of theft over $500, 17 counts of theft over $1,000, one count of theft under $500 and one count of theft over $60,000.

Bonnie Cooper was indicted for three counts of forgery and two counts of theft over $1,000.

Harness faces a sole count of theft over $10,000.

They are scheduled to appear in court on July 27.