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Caregiver faces theft, burglary charges

by LAUREN REICHENBACH
Staff Writer | May 17, 2023 1:00 AM

A Bonner County woman was arrested last week on more than four dozen charges after police claim she used her position as an elderly couple’s caretaker to make thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges.

In total, court records show that Keara Brimhall, 25, is charged with a total of 51 counts of grand theft, commercial burglary and petit theft.

Brimhall was initially hired as a caregiver for an elderly couple in early 2022. According to court records, she was quickly also hired as the couple’s “accountant,” adding on the duties of helping the two pay household bills and manage finances. Brimhall was to be paid $75 an hour for her accounting services, court records said.

According to the probable cause affidavit, after the husband’s death in early October 2022, a close family friend began helping the widow get her finances in order, and noticed a multitude of unfamiliar charges on the woman’s bank statements.

Upon further inspection, court records allege Brimhall connected a debit card to the woman’s bank account in the woman’s name and had allegedly been spending thousands of dollars in unauthorized transactions. The police were notified and officers were able to obtain numerous surveillance videos of Brimhall using the woman’s debit card at different stores around Bonner County. Officials allege the woman used the card to buy groceries and clothing as well as withdraw cash from the account, according to the probable cause affidavit.

It was also discovered that multiple wire transfers were allegedly taken from the account with various vague titles such as “[woman’s] play money” or “Christmas money,” all of which were unauthorized by the woman, according to court records.

“Over the course of three months, over $5,800 was paid to Keara Brimhall for accounting,” the affidavit said.

In July 2022, Brimhall was being paid roughly $100 a month for her accounting position, but by November, court records say over $2,000 was being transferred into her bank account each month.

In total, it’s believed that Brimhall stole over $18,000 from the woman, officials said in court records. She is charged with five counts of grand theft, 28 counts of commercial burglary and 18 counts of petit theft.

Brimhall’s initial appearance in court was on May 16, where her bail was set at $50,000 and her preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 24.

If you believe an elder you know is being taken advantage of monetarily, it should be reported to Adult Protective Services right away as well as local law enforcement, which can be reached at 208-263-8417.