FREDERICKTOWN — Helen Booth has a giving and nurturing soul, like her mother, she said. That’s why she took in a woman she and her daughter, Lisa, believed to be pregnant with twins and in an abusive situation.
“I didn’t notice anything unusual at first,” 80-year-old Booth said. “She was like family. She treated us good and helped with the housework and she would do dishes. She stood right in there for a while.”
Then the Booths’ house guest, Amy Slanina, started telling stories of needing money to pay child support in order to keep from going to jail. She also told the Booths a tale of millions of dollars in a frozen bank account that she would soon have access to.
On Feb. 8, Slanina told the mother and daughter the bank account was unfrozen and needed to borrow Booth’s 1997 Ford Taurus to withdrawal cash, pick up the keys to a house she said she was buying and run other errands.
“She left at 8:30 a.m. and had to go by herself,” said Lisa. “At noon she called and said she was at Staples. By 3 p.m. we noticed Mom had two checks and a credit card missing. That’s when we called the [Fredericktown] police.”
According to Lisa, Slanina charged some items at Wal-Mart, including a disposable cell phone and wrote two, $300 checks to herself before leaving town.
Booth’s car was found in a hotel parking lot in Moon, Pa., 10 days later. Slanina was arrested at that time and was later transported to the Knox County Jail, where she remains incarcerated, according to Knox County Assistant Prosecutor Chip McConville.
“I had to borrow money to go and get my car in Pennsylvania,” Booth said. “That put me in a little bit of debt I didn’t need.”
Since then, Booth has been able to work with her bank, credit card and insurance companies to have charges reversed and impound fees reimbursed.
“I’ve had to get a new checking account and credit card but everyone was very helpful,” Booth said.
In March, Slanina, 30, was indicted on charges of grand theft of a motor vehicle, possession of stolen checks, possession of a stolen credit card, misuse of a credit card and two counts of forgery. After pleading guilty today in Knox County Common Pleas Court, she faces up to a maximum of seven and a half years in prison if Judge Otho Eyster demands sentences be served consecutively.
The two counts of forgery as considered fourth degree felonies because they are thefts against a senior citizen.
While Booth was pleased Slanina admits her guilt, she won’t be satisfied until a sentence is rendered on June 4.
“I hope it’s about 25 years at least. She needs a lot of time to think,” Booth said.