BALLSTON SPA -- The wife of a Saratoga County supervisor stole more than $38,000 while acting as a legal guardian for an 83-year-old woman staying at the county-run nursing home, authorities said on Friday.
Deborah Thompson, 62, of Ballston Spa, was arrested and charged with third-degree grand larceny by State Police. Thompson is the wife of Milton Supervisor Frank Thompson, although a fellow town official said the couple had been estranged for a number of years.
Police said the arrest came after the nursing home resident's bank alerted the state Office of Mental Health after becoming concerned with credit card charges, withdrawals and checks being written for items including dinner and Great Escape passes.
The bank knew that the woman was homebound and had granted power of attorney over the account, authorities said. The victim is a resident at Maplewood Manor, the Saratoga County nursing home in Ballston Spa.
Deborah Thompson did not work at the nursing home, but became familiar with the victim through a part-time job at the Wilbur Trieble Senior Apartments, where she had previously stayed, authorities said.
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Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy said Friday that he would apply for a special prosecutor to handle the case next week to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Thompson is the chairman of the county's Law and Finance Committee, which controls the district attorney's budget and personnel. Traditionally, the chairman of that committee goes on to serve as the chairman of the Board of Supervisors.
Authorities say their investigation remains ongoing and that there could be more charges in the case. If Deborah Thompson did not report the stolen money as income, the state Department of Taxation and Finance could become involved.
The political implications for Frank Thompson, a Republican, remained unclear on Friday. Attempts to reach party chairmen in Milton and in Saratoga County were unsuccessful. A call to the Thompsons' residence was also unreturned.
Frank Thompson was expected to interview with the Milton Republican Committee next week in hopes of being endorsed for re-election, and Milton Deputy Supervisor Herb Peters said he would carry on despite the arrest.
"As far as I'm concerned, Mr. Thompson is one of the most honest persons I've ever known and I hope he runs again," Peters said. "It's a shame that his wife allegedly did what she did but I don't think that should reflect on the job he's done as supervisor."
Deborah Thompson was arraigned in Malta Town Court on Friday morning. She has been released on $5,000 bond and is scheduled to return on May 12.