Woman held for Internet auction fraud

A Carson City woman awaiting trial in an elderly abuse case was arrested Thursday afternoon after detectives served a search warrant investigating Internet auction fraud at her Valley View home.

Sami Marcia Louise Donovan, 50, is being held in the Carson City Jail on $75,000 bail for suspicion of two felony counts of theft.

Each theft charge carries a possible penalty of one to 10 years in prison, if convicted.

She is accused of using Internet auction sites Yahoo! and Amazon to defraud a man in Minnesota of $7,500 and another in Arkansas for $3,500. They allegedly paid her for motor homes she never delivered.

Detectives served the search warrant about 11:20 a.m.

Donovan and her husband, Gary, were not home at the time, but were later located at Pi-on Plaza, where she was taken into custody.

Donovan was free on bail on charges of felony elder abuse and exploitation of the elderly. According to District Attorney Noel Water, the new charges could possibly revoke her bail in that case.

In December 1999 Donovan was arrested for allegedly depriving her elderly charge, Glenell Westphal, 78, of "food or medicines necessary to maintain her physical or mental health" resulting in "physical weakness and debility, impairment of mental functioning and dementia."

The complaint alleges that through deception, Donovan induced Westphal to adopt her, making Donovan her legal heir and beneficiary to Westphal's home.

At the time of Donovan's 1999 arrest, Westphal, a once-wealthy woman who owned the Valley View home, was destitute. She who now lives in a convalescent center on Medicaid.

If convicted in that case, Donovan faces 2-40 years in prison. A trial date of April 1 is set.


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