Elkhart woman accused of stealing widower's debit card

Truth file photo

ELKHART — An Elkhart woman is accused of using her roommate’s debit card to send money to a prison inmate.

Karissa Martin, 31, is charged with fraud in connection with an alleged November 2017 incident. She is also charged with violating a home detention order for allegedly removing her ankle monitor in March of this year. 

Both are Level 6 felonies, which carries a punishment of up to 2 1/2 years in prison.

The warrant for her arrest on the home detention charge was issued April 9 and the warrant for the fraud charge was issued June 28.

According to court documents:

A man came into the Elkhart Police Department in December 2017 to report that someone had recently used his debit card for unauthorized purchases. He said he found out from his bank that a total of $1,008.94 was charged to his card.

The charges were for inmate phone services at unknown locations and Western Union money order transactions. The man said he never authorized any of the transactions, still had possession of his card and never gave anyone permission to use it.

He also mentioned that he had a former roommate, Martin, who rented a room in his house after his wife had passed away. He said Martin had “skipped town” and he believed she had stolen some personal belongings from his house.

A police detective determined which inmate had received money on his phone account from the victim’s debit card. The inmate was someone known to police to be involved with Martin.

The detective also found transaction records from Western Union involving the victim’s debit card. They listed the victim as the sender of the funds and Martin as the recipient.

Police obtained surveillance footage of the transaction occurring on Nov. 29, 2017, showing a woman who matched Martin’s description picking up a Western Union transaction for $500.

The detective made contact by telephone with a woman who identified herself as Martin. She claimed that the victim had conducted the transactions because he owed her money, but the victim told police it was she who owed him money for rent.

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