NAUGATUCK — A local woman has been charged with stealing close to $29,000 from her wife’s son to feed a drug habit.
When confronted about the missing money, Kelly Van Valkenburgh, 38, of 29 Simsbury Road, admitted to her wife’s son that she was addicted to opiates and stole his personal checks, which she wrote to herself, to buy drugs.
Van Valkenburgh was charged Sept. 22 with first-degree larceny and 47 counts of third-degree forgery. She was held on a $50,000 bond and was arraigned this week at Waterbury Superior Court.
The victim is an adult man who said he received a court settlement of about $168,000 from a car accident that he deposited into a TD Bank checking account. He said he withdrew and spent money on two cars, car accessories, paying down his mother’s mortgage and took out cash on himself.
He said he stopped spending money when he noticed the account balance drop to about $30,000.
“After I stopped spending money, I continued to notice the account balance do down,” he told police. “About two weeks later, I noticed that my account balance was negative.”
The man, who lives with his mother and his mother’s wife, said he left his checkbook on a kitchen table. He said he only wrote a few checks but noticed the checkbook had a large number of checks missing.
His mother said she did not know where the money had gone, according to a police report. That was when the man asked Van Valkenburgh.
Naugatuck police detectives tracked the checks and found video surveillance showing Van Valkenburgh depositing several checks into ATMs in several Webster Bank locations across the state.
Police learned the checks all belonged to the man’s account and that Van Valkenburgh signed her name to the checks, which ranged from $50 to $1,200. All told, police said, she stole $28,762.