Crime scene

EASTON — An Easton couple is facing fraud and theft charges for allegedly using a stolen bank card to cover more than $87,000 of their utility, phone bills and other purchases since at least January 2019, police say.

The suspects, identified by police as Kimberly and Paul Smith, are accused of using Kimberly’s mother and step-father’s joint banking information to pay bills and buy cosmetic services, designer purses and a range of items from Target, Walmart and Amazon over nearly two years.

Easton Police said the victims reported the suspected fraud to the police department on Jan. 14, 2020. Detectives launched an investigation into the allegations and obtained store surveillance footage, purchase and payment records from several companies, and a search warrant for the suspects’ home.

Police said Kimberly, 51, and Paul, 52, can allegedly be seen on surveillance videos making purchases using the stolen funds, and records indicate several online orders addressed to the couple were reportedly paid for with the same funds.

Officers also reported finding and seizing several items from the couple’s home that matched their alleged fraudulent purchases.

The victims told police Kimberly and Paul did not have permission to use their money to make purchases or pay bills, except to sometimes go to the store and buy groceries for them, according to charging documents obtained by The Star Democrat.

Police said the victims claimed Kimberly and Paul had stolen money from them before about 10 years ago, but they did not report that alleged theft to police because they resolved it among themselves.

The victims’ bank card was deactivated. Kimberly and Paul were arrested in connection with the fraudulent purchases on Dec. 30. Paul faces 26 criminal fraud and theft charges related to the case and Kimberly faces 38 charges.

They were both released from the Talbot County Detention Center the same day as their arrest. The couple is expected to appear for trial in Talbot County District Court on Feb. 16, according to court records.

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