General Crime

* Sarah Joanne Holm Pleads No Contest to Elder Theft in Santa Rosa

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A Santa Rosa woman pleaded no contest today to stealing  more than $50,000 from her former mother-in-law and from another elderly woman under her care. Sarah Joanne Holm, 46, faces six months in jail and three years’ probation when she is sentenced Aug. 24, Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said. Both victims were Sebastopol residents who were close friends and neighbors, Ravitch said.

The offenses date back to November 2004, according to court records. Holm was charged with eight felony counts that include grand theft, theft from an elder dependant and using another person’s credit card and identification. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation when Holm’s former mother-in-law noted several unauthorized charges to her bank account that were traceable to Holm, Ravitch said. Holm used the woman’s bank account information and credit card to steal money and to apply for an American Express credit card to make purchases she did not pay for, Ravitch said.

The District Attorney’s Office investigated Holm after an elderly woman in her care died, Ravitch said. The estate trustees found more than $50,000 of estate funds were spent at the River Rock Casino in Geyserville and at other locations in the months following the woman’s death, Ravitch said. Holm’s trial was scheduled for today before Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Robert LaForge.

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  • This was my mother, Katie Steingruber who was the victim of elder abuse. Sarah took advantage of her in the worst way by saying she was taking care of her. She cleaned her out. We wanted Sarah off the streets so she can’t get to anyone else. Six months in Jail certainly isn’t enough. She will be right out doing it to someone again. This situation took 4 years and caused much anxiety and stress to our family. At this point its not about the money, its about getting a dirtbag off the street.

  • I don’t understand how 8 FELONY counts with elder abuse only gets her 6 months jail time. That is less than 1 month per felony charge. And maybe I am mistaken, but I thought that elder abuse added 2 years minimum per count to the sentencing. I think an investigation needs to be done about this deal, which seems like just a slap on the wrist for such an outrageous betrayal and abuse of trust, to say the lest!

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