BEAUFORT, CARTERET COUNTY -

A Carteret County woman has been charged for allegedly stealing $70,000 intended for her elderly mother.

According to the Beaufort Police Department, 55-year-old Martha Elizabeth Loftin was arrested at her mother's home on Friday. The suspect is facing a felony count of exploitation of an elderly person.

The Carteret County Department of Social Services told police on Dec. 16 that Loftin's mother, Betty, had been staying at the Taylor Extended Care Facility in Down East Carteret County since February 2011. But the facility had not been receiving any payments for Betty's care, stated the DSS.

Police said they soon learned that Loftin was granted the power of attorney for her mother. During the time that Loftin's mother was in the health care facility, Loftin was receiving her mother's monthly social security checks and cashing them for personal use, according to investigators.

Even after Loftin's power of attorney was taken away, she continued to cash her mother's social security checks and refused to pay Taylor Extended Care, said police.

Loftin's mother also received a large check from her deceased husband's estate. But Loftin cashed that check as well, and did not use the money for her mother's care, investigators said.

In all, Loftin used about $70,000 of her mother's benefits and money, according to police.

Loftin was being jailed under a $15,000 bond. Her first court appearance was scheduled for Monday.