SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Update: Josie Baker’s change of plea hearing has since been delayed until November 15.
Original: A woman who police say stole nearly a quarter of a million dollars from the child of a fallen Terre Haute Police Officer is set to appear in court for a change of plea.
33-year-old Josie Baker’s case began in the summer of 2021 when prosecutors charged her with a level 5 felony of theft of more than $50,000.
According to court documents, Baker is the mother of a child she had with the late Robert Pitts. Pitts died in the line of duty on May 4, 2018. Police said Baker used the child’s money to purchase multiple vehicles, pay off her student loans, as well as numerous purchases from locations like Amazon, Walmart, McDonald’s, and Guitar Center.
Investigating detectives said bank records showed each time a large sum deposit was made, within months, sometimes days, the money would be depleted. In October of 2018, the first deposit from Pitt’s line of duty death benefits was made in the sum of $111,212.31. A little more than $5,400 was deducted by the US Department of Education to repay Baker’s delinquent student loan debt. By Christmas Eve of 2018, the account had a negative balance of -$363.97.
A second deposit was made in February 2019 in the amount of $58,074.81 as part of the Federal Law Enforcement Officer Line of Duty Death Benefit program. By the end of the same day, the balance had dropped to $38,698.62. Three weeks later “the balance of the account was again in the negative by $1,467.86.”
In August of 2019, the child received a check for $50,000 from the Indiana Public Retirement System. Baker, in her role as guardian/mother, deposited the check into her account. By September 24, 2019, the account was overdrawn.
Baker’s sister reportedly was given custody of the child in February 2020. Court documents state she had to have the child’s social security payments canceled and re-issued to her because Baker had failed to have the payments sent to her.
Baker is set to appear in Sullivan Circuit Court for a change of plea hearing on November 15.