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Woman pleads not guilty in elderly exploitation case

Woman pleads not guilty in elderly exploitation case

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A Rock Island woman pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that she bilked an elderly East Moline man out of more than $100,000 by claiming she needed treatment for cancer.

Felica Howard, 44, appeared briefly in Rock Island County Circuit Court and waived her right to a preliminary hearing. She will be back in court April 22 for a pretrial conference. A trial has been tentatively set for May 9.

During a preliminary hearing, a judge determines whether there is enough probable cause to justify a trial.

She is charged with theft by deception, a Class 1 felony punishable by four to 15 years in prison.

Police say Howard met an East Moline 78-year-old male parishioner at a Moline church in 2013 and told him she needed money for a variety of issues, including a pending divorce and treatment for ovarian cancer.

The man continued to support Howard financially for two years to help her with these issues and help pay for the cancer treatments and medications, according to police.

Police determined that Howard’s claims were false and that she had not been diagnosed or treated for cancer.

Howard remained in the Rock Island County Jail on Tuesday on a $100,000 bond.

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