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GOSHEN — A Middlebury woman trusted with helping an accident victim pay his medical bills is accused of stealing nearly $80,000 from him.

Court documents filed Tuesday charge Amy Stutzman, 44, with theft of property valued at more than $50,000. The Level 5 felony is punishable by up to six years in prison.

The charge follows an investigation by the Goshen Police Department and Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office that started in April.

According to court documents:

Goshen officers spoke with a man and his daughter about money missing from a joint account that he opened with Stutzman in 2015.

The man said he was in a bad accident in April 2015 and now has trouble focusing. He said Stutzman offered to help him pay his bills and he gratefully accepted.

They opened a joint account with First State Bank in August 2015 with an initial deposit of $25,000. The man later deposited another $65,444 when he received a check from the insurance company.

He said Stutzman started making payments to herself from the account, as well as paying for her own bills, vacations and other personal items. The victim thought she took roughly $84,000.

A sheriff’s detective later began investigating the case. He spoke with the victim and his daughter, who said Stutzman wrote multiple checks for the man’s medical care at first but soon began writing checks to herself.

The man stressed that the agreement was that Stutzman would only use the First State account to pay for his medical bills.

The detective subpoenaed bank records and found numerous checks Stutzman wrote to herself, including a check for $60,000 in April 2016. That check was used to open an account at a different bank in Stutzman’s own name, from which credit card bills and other things not related to the man’s medical care were paid.

The detective determined that she allegedly removed a total of $79,107 from the shared account between August 2015 and November 2017.

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