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Wife faces charges after husband reports theft from retirement savings

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    FREDERICKTOWN, Missouri (Daily Journal) — A Fredericktown woman is facing felony charges after allegedly transferring tens of thousands of dollars from a man’s retirement account into her own personal business account over the course of more than a year.

Tammi Whitener, 44, has been charged in Madison County with two counts of felony stealing ($25,000 or more) and one count of felony stealing ($750 or more).

According to a probable cause statement from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, a man came to the sheriff’s office on Oct. 20 and met with a detective to report a theft involving his retirement fund.

The man gave police information that indicated the retirement fund contained approximately $200,000 in 2017; However, in February of 2018, the man said he transferred roughly $25,000 to an IRA account.

The man reported that his spouse, identified as Whitener, began transferring funds without his knowledge or consent. The man also said Whitener created the usernames and passwords for his retirement accounts and would never give him the information to access them.

The original report was submitted to Madison County Prosecuting Attorney M. Dwight Robbins for review.

After reviewing the records, the prosecutor gave the man’s sister permission to research these transactions because she reportedly holds a business degree and is knowledgeable in this matter, according to the report.

On Dec. 7, police met with the alleged victim’s sister in reference to the research she had done on the financial transactions that were made to his retirement account.

The report states that the woman provided a list of transactions from her brother’s and Whitener’s Wells Fargo joint checking account that were transferred to both Whitener’s personal business account, RTW Accounting, LLC, and her son’s account. This money was reportedly transferred without the man’s knowledge or permission.

The funds transferred to RTW Accounting, LLC reportedly occurred between Oct. 5, 2018, and Sept. 2, totaling $38,259 transferred. A total of $12,202.50 was allegedly transferred to Whitener’s son between Jan. 24, 2019, and Nov. 27, 2019.

The report states that the alleged victim submitted a written voluntary statement on Dec. 16, explaining that he did not give permission to transfer funds out of his retirement account to their joint checking account and did not give Whitener permission to transfer money out of their joint checking account into her son’s account. He also did not give Whitener permission to set up a login and password for his retirement account, according to the statement.

On Dec. 18, police received information from the Madison County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office about a loan agreement between Big Picture Loans, LLC and the alleged victim.

According to documents, Big Picture Loans received a loan application in the man’s name on Dec. 9, 2019, along with an electronic signature with his name on it. Big Picture Loans approved the application, and $1,500 was deposited into the Wells Fargo checking account shared by the man and Whitener.

On Jan. 7, police received a list of transactions from the man’s IRA Account. The list reportedly showed seven transactions that occurred between Sept. 17, 2019, and Nov. 20, 2019, in the amount of $82,536.43. With tax being withheld, $69,720.01 was transferred into the man and Whitener’s Wells Fargo joint checking account by Whitener without the man’s knowledge and permission, according to the report.

Police then met with the man, who stated that he did not submit the application to Big Picture Loans, LLC, nor did he give Whitener permission to submit the online loan application. He told police he did not know this loan at the time it was granted.

Whitener was booked at the Madison County Jail last week, and a $100,000 cash-only bond was set in the case. The court denied a motion to reduce Whitener’s bond during a hearing on Thursday, according to court records.

Whitener has entered a plea of not guilty to the charges, and a preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Feb. 4.

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