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A Butte woman pleaded not guilty Thursday to allegations that she stole more than $27,000 from her 72-year-old mother while she suffered from cancer and showed signs of dementia.

Marissa Monet Curnow, 40, pleaded not guilty to exploitation of an older person, a felony in Montana that carries a possible 10-year prison term and $10,000 fine. Curnow remains free on her own recognizance pending further court proceedings.

The mother told police in October 2017 that Curnow and her husband had power-of-attorney over her because she had been sick, according to prosecutors. Police learned later that she was a widow and had cancer.

She said her daughter was using her debit card and, instead of paying her bills with the money, was using it all for herself. The daughter had drug and gambling problems, she said.

An official with Adult Protective Services visited the home and said the mother’s basic needs were not being met. There was no food in the house, several bills were past due, some of her checks had forged signatures, and Curnow “somehow managed to put her student loans” in her mother’s name.

Police determined that more than $21,000 in unauthorized charges were made with the debit card. There was also $6,094 in unauthorized checks written against her account, prosecutors say.

Curnow's next court hearing is set for Oct. 4.

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Government and politics reporter

Reporter with emphasis on government and politics.

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