A woman who baby-sat a Rock Hill attorney’s children will spend the next 30 days in jail after she pleaded guilty to stealing the attorney’s mother’s debit card and using it to fill her and her twin sister’s cars with gas.
Elizabeth Plyler Elkins, 41, pleaded guilty Thursday to financial transaction card theft and financial transaction card fraud, according to a 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office news release.
Circuit Court Judge John Hayes sentenced Elkins to 30 days in jail, followed by five years of probation, during which she is not to have any contact with the victim.
Elkins had been on trial this week. After a day of opening arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys and testimony from several witnesses, she decided to plead guilty, said Chris Jones, the assistant solicitor who prosecuted her.
Elkins’ sister, Katie Joy, also 41, pleaded no contest last month to her part in the fraud.
Last summer, Delores Gillen, 87, moved in with her son, Rock Hill family lawyer Michael Gillen, Jones said. The Gillens hired Elkins to baby-sit Michael Gillen’s young children and help his mother around the house. Typically, a high school student served as the family’s baby-sitter, but she had been away on a trip.
One week in July, Elkins took Delores Gillen’s debit card from the kitchen counter, Jones said. With Delores Gillen’s grandchildren with her, Elkins used the card to put $126.50 worth of gas in her and her sister’s cars at a South Cherry Road gas station.
They only used the card for gas, Jones said.
“Ms. Gillen and her daughter ... went over her bank account online multiple times a week,” said Jones, adding that Delores Gillen’s Social Security check was the only source of her income. “They noticed some unauthorized transactions and contacted the police.”
Police obtained video from the gas station that showed Joy and Elkins using the card to put gas in their cars, according to police documents. Both women were arrested, after which Elkins admitted to stealing the card. Joy told police she did not know the card was stolen, but she was aware her sister had financial problems.
Joy added that she did not think it was abnormal for her sister to fill up her tank or unusual that the card was not initially accepted at the gas pumps, documents show. Police issued warrants for Joy’s arrest after Delores Gillen’s caregiver told detectives she saw Joy and Elkins going through the victim’s bedroom drawers the day the debit card went missing.
In court on Thursday, Elkins told the judge that she stole the debit card because she was having financial troubles, Jones said.
Elkins’ attorney, 16th Circuit Public Defender Mark McKinnon, declined to comment.