• Facing felonies, woman misses court date
     | April 19,2013

    BARRE — A Williamstown woman missed her arraignment Thursday on felony charges she stole her brother-in-law’s identity and racked up around $1,000 of debt in his name.

    Debra A. Hutchings, 57, is facing charges of false pretenses and identity theft — both felonies —in Washington County criminal court in Barre. She was supposed to be arraigned on the charges Thursday, but Hastings did not show up.

    A judicial summons was issued for her to appear at a later date. If Hutchings is convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 13 years and a $7,000 fine.

    According to the Vermont State Police affidavit, Hutchings’ brother-in-law, James Papineau, went to the state police in December saying Hutchings had opened up four credit cards in his name.

    Papineau gave state police documentation showing electronic checks were issued in his name in the accounts totaling $1,028.29, including overdraft fees.

    Papineau told state police Hutchings used a fabricated company, “Papineau Meat Cutting,” and her own address to open one of the accounts. Papineau said he had done some butchering in the past so he could only assume that is where Hutchings must have gotten the name, according to state police.

    When questioned by state police about the accounts, Hutchings admitted to using Papineau’s name, Social Security number and a date of birth exactly one year off of Papineau’s in order to create the accounts. Hutchings told the state police she had fallen on difficult financial times and created the accounts so she could pay her bills. She told state police she planned to pay the bills off but “things escalated” and she could not pay off the debt.

    State police say they received an email from Capital One, one of the banks where she allegedly opened up a fraudulent account, saying Hutchings had contacted them and had taken responsibility for the debt.

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