A Cottageville woman was arrested last week and charged with multiple fraud counts for allegedly taking funds from the account of her incapacitated neighbor for whom she worked as a caretaker.


A Cottageville woman was arrested last week and charged with multiple fraud counts for allegedly taking funds from the account of her incapacitated neighbor for whom she worked as a caretaker. 

Marybeth Collins of Cottageville has been charged with felony counts of fraudulent schemes, insurance fraud, and misappropriation of funds for the incapacitated in connection to events dating back to the spring of 2004. 

According to the complaint filed by investigating officer Capt. Herb Faber of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Collins worked with Mason County resident Judith Burdette, who was appointed Guardian/Conservator of Lydia Durst of Cottageville in November 2003 by Circuit Court Judge Thomas C. Evans, III, to receive more that $14,000 from Durst’s financial accounts. 
Collins, Durst’s neighbor, worked as Durst’s caretaker until Durst passed away in February 2009. 

Faber investigated several years worth of Durst’s financial records, dating back to November 2003, and discovered that nearly $240,000 had been depleted from her accounts with nearly $138,000 going to Collins. 

Among that amount, Faber allegedly found several instances spanning the years where Collins received checks issued by Burdette totaling $14,845.66 for expenses unrelated to Durst’s care including vehicle repairs, two sets of new tires for Collins and her husband, and a metal outbuilding for Collins property. 

Additionally, in December 2007, Collins was involved in a motor vehicle accident with Mark Longfellow.  Collins allegedly claimed to Collins insurance agency, GEICO, that this accident left her unable to work during 2008 through early 2009.  Collins allegedly provided a notarized statement from Judith Burdette claiming lost wages of $34,829.97 for 2008 and $4,795 for early 2009. 

However, between March and October 2008, Collins did receive nine checks totaling $11,250.68 in return for care of Lydia Durst allegedly contradicting their claims to GEICO that Collins was unable to perform her duties as caretaker. 

Upon reviewing Collins’ time cards for that period, Faber allegedly discovered another deception. 

For the time between March and October 2008, Collins claimed 3,874 hours of work.  At 40-hours-a-week, that would amount to nearly two years of labor.  Faber goes on to write in the complaint, “Two of the time cards show 335 hours worked by Collins in two consecutive two-week periods.  Providing that this work was performed on planet Earth, and Collins used an ordinary solar day as her reference, this would have left Collins with only two hours to sleep for the entire month.” 

Based upon the alleged pattern of deceit uncovered since 2004, Faber obtained warrants for Collins arrest on the felony charges of fraudulent schemes, insurance fraud, and misappropriation of funds for the incapacitated.  Collins turned herself in for arrest last Friday and was arraigned in Magistrate Court.  She was released on $75,000 bond. 

According to Faber, the investigation into the case is ongoing and further charges could be pending for additional individuals involved in the scheme to defraud Durst’s financial accounts.