Thursday, July 27, 2006
ASHLAND, Ore. -- A woman is accused of stealing at least $14,000 from a blind attorney who hired her as assistant last year.
Marissa Renee Wren, 24, of Medford was charged with theft and forgery and was scheduled to be arraigned this week.
Attorney Bruce Harrell hired Wren to work at his private legal practice in Ashland. Wren soon began presenting her boss with checks to sign that were made out to herself, said David Orr, deputy district attorney for Jackson County.
"She was leading him to believe the checks were for legitimate uses such as the electric bill," Orr said Tuesday. "And because Mr. Harrell is blind, he didn't know the difference."
Wren cashed several checks made out for $1,000 and one for $2,200. She also used Harrell's credit card for at least $5,000 in cash advances, Orr said.
Harrell said he discovered the thefts after a credit card company called last October seeking payment. He said Wren later sent him an e-mail in which she admitted draining his bank account.
Harrell said he has made good with all of his creditors and clients and plans to run for Ashland City Council in November.
"It's been a real struggle to come back," he said. "When you're blind, you have to trust people. And it's doubly tough when you get cut off at the knees like this."
Court records show creditors in the past four years have filed claims to garnish Wren's wages. She has worked for several banks and hotels.
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