Trio charged with theft appear in court

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By Susan Sharp

Three women accused of taking large sums of money from an elderly man will now receive free legal assistance.

Greta Cooper, Bonnie Cooper and Tamara Harness appeared in court last week to answer to an indictment charging them with multiple counts of theft and forgery.

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

Appearing in court, all three women claimed they were indigent and unable to pay an attorney to defend in them in the matter.

“These are all basically paper theft cases,” Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton asked during the hearing.

Prosecutors agreed the crimes were based in paper thefts.

After having the women complete the necessary paperwork, Sexton appointed each woman a lawyer to represent her. They were also assessed a $75 fee.

The actions of the three began to come to light after an investigation was opened by the LaFollette Police Department. This happened after the victim’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.

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 again on Aug. 18.