A certified nursing assistant who stands accused of stealing money from a disabled man was arraigned on a felony charge Tuesday morning in Natrona County District Court.

Ashley Ranae Royal, 28, pleaded not guilty before District Judge Thomas Sullins to one count of exploitation of a vulnerable adult. She could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 if convicted.

Sandy Slaymaker, CFO of Visiting Angels in Casper, says Royal is no longer employed there.

According to charging papers, family members of the victim reported Royal to authorities on the morning of June 25 after Royal was allegedly seen stealing money from victim the previous day.

The victim's daughter told a Natrona County Sheriff's deputy that she became suspicious on June 24 after money which was usually left for the victim's grocery shopper in a desk drawer went missing.

The victim's daughters decided to set up a video camera in the living room that day. They didn't leave the home until about 11 p.m.

Royal was scheduled to work for Visiting Angels at the victim's house from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. on June 25. One of the victim's daughters watched a live feed from the camera on her phone during that time, and saw Royal looking through the same desk drawer where the money was usually kept.

When the deputy arrived at the house that morning, he encountered Royal as she was walking outside to her vehicle. Royal allegedly admitted that she took 50 dollars, and she tried to give it to the deputy.

Royal allegedly said she had planned to return the money because she had a guilty conscience. She told the deputy that she needed the money for gas.

At the time of Tuesday's court hearing, Royal remained free on bond. Her case was placed on the trial stack for Oct. 22.

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