OCEAN SPRINGS -- An Ocean Springs woman is innocent of a felony charge she embezzled $91,000 from an elderly man, her attorney said after she appeared in Municipal Court on Wednesday night.
Ashley Ann Bandyk, 27, was arrested Tuesday and jailed on a charge of exploiting a vulnerable adult. Judge Matthew Mestayer agreed to reduce her bond from $200,000 to $25,000, noting she lives with her parents, who were in court.
Attorney Rufus Alldredge also told the judge Bandyk has a degree in nursing. She waived a preliminary hearing, meaning the case will be presented to a grand jury to determine if enough evidence exists for an indictment.
After her appearance, her parents left the courtroom to arrange for her release.
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Alldredge told the Sun Herald that Bandyk and the alleged victim knew one another, but he did not elaborate.
Ocean Springs police Capt. William Jackson said earlier Wednesday the man hired Bandyk to help him with his daily routine and to take care of his finances because his health limits his activities.
Police said Bandyk set up a Pay Pal account with a fraudulent business name to transfer money from his accounts for her own use.
The investigation began Nov. 2.
A vulnerable adult, according to state law, is anyone who is impaired by a mental, emotional, physical or developmental disability or dysfunction, or suffers from brain damage or other problems associated with aging. The maximum penalty is up to 40 years in prison.
Detective Sgt. Matthew Morvant investigated the case.
To report any information, call the Ocean Springs Police Department at 875-2211.