Woman pleads not guilty to exploiting elderly woman

TEXARKANA, Texas -- A woman accused of stealing more than $17,000 while working as a caretaker for a woman in her 90s pleaded not guilty Tuesday to exploitation of the elderly.

Tiffani Lucille Barker, 37, was taken into custody on an unrelated felony theft charge at the end of her hearing before 102nd District Judge Jeff Addison. Barker expressed surprise when Addison told her she was being taken in on a warrant.

Assistant Public Defender Deborah Moore entered a plea of not guilty on Barker's behalf to a charge of exploitation of the elderly. Barker was free on a $40,000 bond in the exploitation case until her arrest in court Tuesday.

Barker allegedly made numerous cash withdrawals from multiple accounts before the suspected theft was reported to Texarkana, Texas, police in July 2020, according to a probable cause affidavit. Barker was arrested on the exploitation charge in November 2021.

Barker's phone number was allegedly attached to a Discover card the elderly woman's family knew nothing about. Items purchased with the card online were allegedly delivered to Barker's address, and the bill was allegedly paid from one of the elderly woman's bank accounts.

Assistant District Attorney Bradley Akins said the full amount of restitution allegedly owed the elderly victim may have increased since the case was initially investigated.

Barker is currently serving a 10-year term of felony probation in Miller County, Arkansas, for theft of property. According to records in that case, Barker stole more than $13,000 from a Texarkana, Arkansas, couple. Barker's probation in Miller County began April 2, 2019.

If convicted in Bowie County of exploitation of an elderly person, Barker faces two to 10 years in prison.

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