Cobb caregiver sentenced for stealing $20K from stroke patient

Julia Maria Bell

Credit: Cobb County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Cobb County Sheriff's Office

Julia Maria Bell

A live-in caregiver tasked with looking after a Kennesaw woman who suffered a stroke is heading to prison after stealing nearly $20,000 from her client.

Julia Maria Bell, 50, was convicted earlier this month of four counts of elder abuse. She was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison and another 10 on probation, according to a news release from the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said from late 2016 through the end of 2017, Bell lived in the woman’s home and gained access to her finances. She used several credit cards belonging to her client, ringing up thousands of dollars in purchases for herself.

In one instance, Bell opened a credit card in her own name using the woman’s Costco Visa account and spent nearly $6,000 in a single month before she was fired.

“That led relatives of the client to do a deeper probe into the client’s finances, during which they discovered unusual cash withdrawals, charges and checks,” the release said. “When law enforcement pulled the defendant’s bank records, they discovered a check that had been mailed to her client and deposited into Bell’s own bank account.”

Cobb Senior Assistant DA Jason Marbutt said Bell maintained her innocence and insisted she did nothing wrong.

“Thankfully, the jury disagreed,” he said. “The evidence overwhelmingly showed that this defendant manipulated a vulnerable victim and charged thousands of dollars for her own benefit.”

In addition to her prison sentence, Bell was ordered to pay more than $19,000 in restitution to the woman and her family.

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