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Category Archives: 66-68 Child/Vulnerable Adult Abuse Victories

State v. Mr. B (DMC No. 12267) – Felony Mortgage Fraud ($140,000), Felony Fraudulent Schemes & Felony Vulnerable Adult Abuse – Not Charged – California Law Firm Investigated.

Mr. B owned a company that would buy houses, remodel them, and then “flip” them. He did this with the help of a partner. He became involved with an insurance agent that sold annuities to her clients. She would convince her clients to break their annuities in order to buy properties that Mr. B. would then sell. Unbeknownst to the clients, and unbeknownst to Mr. B., a $100,000 annuity that would be broken early by a client would have a $25,000 surrender fee to be paid to the insurance agent. When the insurance agent would refer over clients to buy houses from Mr. B., she would include her fee in the price (even though she wasn’t on the real estate documents) and he would send her the money for the property closed.

The alleged victim in this case was an 82 year old gentleman who claimed he did not know about the surrender fee on his annuities, and that he was basically taken advantage of by the insurance agent due to his age. He bought two houses from Mr. B. that were in Arizona while the alleged victim lived in California. One of the houses was being routinely vandalized and having copper and appliances stolen from it, so Mr. B. had one of his workers live in the house for six months (rent free) in order to protect it. The alleged victim was claiming that it was Mr. B. who was having the copper and appliances sold on the side in order to defraud additional funds out of the victim.

When Mr. B. received a threatening inquiry from a law firm in California regarding Mortgage Fraud, Fraud Schemes and Vulnerable Adult Abuse, he contacted us. After reviewing all documents involved in the sale, we then had Mr. B take a polygraph with the following two questions: “Did you work with [insurance agent] to encourage her clients to cash out stocks, annuity, etc. in order to purchase properties owned by your company?” and “Did [construction worker] pay you rent in order to stay in the property that was regularly vandalized?” He answered “No” to both questions, which was “truthful”. In addition, we obtained Affidavits from his business partner and the construction worker who lived in the house. All of this was assembled and sent to the Attorney in California. Working with the Attorney in California, he agreed that this was a civil matter and not a criminal matter. Mr. B. settled for a very small amount of money and was never charged with any crimes.

U.S. v. Mr. S (DMC No. 14784) – Federal Money Laundering ($50,000), Federal Bank and Wire Fraud, Federal Arms Trafficking (AK/AR-47s and 50-Caliber Rifles) and Felony Drug Trafficking (Meth, Marijuana) – Not Charged Due to Cooperation Agreement – Pinal County Attorney’s Office, US Attorney’s Office and ATF Investigated.

Mr. S had a female friend who asked to deposit some money into his bank accounts. He agreed and gave her his bank account numbers. Later on, she was contacted by a Pinal County attorney and she was questioned about the deposits. She said that she “sells cars” and that she would share the money with Mr. S. This turned out to be a lie. About one week later, the bank account of Mr. S was frozen, and he received a Forfeiture letter. Approximately $50,000 was deposited into his accounts over an 8-month timeframe.

Additionally, Mr. S had a male friend who would deposit money into the female friend’s account, who would then deposit it into Mr. S’ account. Every time Mr. S then returned an amount of $5,000 to the male friend, Mr. S would receive a $100 payment. It turned out that the male friend was selling drugs and was also running guns into Mexico for various organizations.

Once we became involved, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office had also brought the U.S. Attorney’s Office into the case. An Agent with the ATF also became involved, and we were able to negotiate a cooperation deal which would keep Mr. S from being charged with any crime. The US Attorney’s Office provided a Kastigar Letter and a Proffer Agreement. During the course of cooperation, Mr. S introduced undercover agents to various characters who were selling methamphetamine and guns. Ultimately, people were arrested and Mr. S was never charged with any crimes. In addition, we were able to stop any Forfeiture proceedings regarding the house owned by Mr. S by the Pinal County Attorney’s Office. Originally, Mr. S was facing decades in prison if he were to be convicted of all charges. Ultimately, he has no criminal record whatsoever.

State v. Mr. M (DMC No. 15188) – Felony Fraudulent Schemes ($72,500), Felony Vulnerable Adult Abuse and Felony Theft – Not Charged – Adult Protective Services Investigated (Case No. 31XXXX).

Mr. M had a website building and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) company who would reach out to various website owners in order to sell them their services. The purpose was to improve their websites’ rankings and increase the actual organic traffic to the websites. Mr. M made contact with Bruce (a former lawyer) who was 79-years old. Bruce had a law website, but had a dream of building a directory website that was similar to “Angie’s List” for businesses. He was ultimately quoted a flat fee of $15,000 and he signed a contract.

Throughout the building of the site, he was repeatedly asked for more money and ultimately paid $72,500. The purpose of the site was changed from a directory to a site that would help people improve their credit scores. That particular site actually ended up generating approximately $30,000 in revenue to Bruce.

As Bruce was now in his eighties, his daughters sought to get a conservatorship and claim that he was suffering from dementia. They made a claim with Adult Protective Services that Mr. M had Taken Advantage of a Vulnerable adult in the amount of $72,500.

We became involved with the case and we contacted the Investigator for Adult Protective Services. We were able to show all the work performed on multiple sites, along with the change in direction of the site’s purpose, would justify the full $72,500. During this time, Bruce’s daughter sought to get a civil lawyer involved to potentially file a lawsuit. We also dealt with the civil lawyer and no civil complaint was ever filed. In addition, Adult Protective Services declined to seek any prosecution and they relayed the “turn down” of prosecution by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to us. Mr. M was originally facing very serious felony charges which could have placed him in prison. Now, he has no criminal record whatsoever.

State v. Mr. D (DMC No. 15136) – Felony Fraudulent Schemes ($350,000 Misappropriated Wire Transfer), Federal Felony Bank and Wire Fraud, Felony Theft, Felony Vulnerable Adult Abuse and Felony Unlawful Use of Power of Attorney – Not Charged – Mesa Police Department Investigated (DR No. 20XX-XXXXXX3) and  CFA Institute Investigated.

Mr. D was a financial planner. His mother went in for surgery and passed away. After that, his father (actually his grandfather that adopted him when he was a child) asked for help with his financial affairs because he was getting older and more forgetful. They then met with an Attorney and signed a Power of Attorney. This gave Mr. D access to a joint account with his father.

At some point, Mr. D wired $350,000 into his own account which he used to pay off his own mortgage. Also, funds were used to pay off about $80,000 on a Discover card. That $80,000 was later clawed back by his father. Lastly, he took a $124,000 payment to himself.  The balance was then used to purchase a third condominium for his father’s trust. Mr. D also transferred two other condominiums into the trust, which resulted in a net positive of $65,000 to his father. Because everything totaled positive for his father’s trust, he assumed that he had done nothing wrong. However, he was contacted by Mesa Police and the CFA Institute regarding various improprieties. Mesa Police were looking into Felony charges of Fraud Schemes, Unlawful Use of a Power of Attorney, Theft, and Vulnerable Adult Abuse. There was also a potential for a Felony Federal Bank and Wire Fraud claim due to the use of the wire transfer to a federal banking institution.

We became involved and we were able to shut down the investigation and keep it purely as a civil matter.  Through the course of the civil lawsuit, a proposal was made to have Mr. D. repay his father $400,000, in exchange for merely keeping  all three condominiums. Ultimately, the case resolved civilly and there were no criminal charges ever brought against Mr. D. Originally, Mr. D was facing mandatory prison time due to the fact that the amount of loss was above $100,000.

Mr. S was a high school student who got involved with two older high school students who sold drugs and had violent dispositions. Mr. S. had received a call from one of the Co-Defendants stating that he had been ripped off by two other kids in a drug deal and wanted Mr. S to go with them in order to “have their back.” At some point prior, Mr. S. provided them with some bullets for a gun he thought they would be shooting in the desert (completely unrelated to the drug robbery). Mr. S. was instructed to convince the two victims to go into the desert to “smoke some weed.”

When all 3 arrived at a predetermined location, the two Co-Defendants jumped out of the bushes and held the two victims at gunpoint and knifepoint. One of the victims was instructed to “suck his dick,” referring to the other victim. Both of them were males. The victims were pleading with the Co-Defendants not to shoot them and not make them participate in that activity, which they were still forced to do.

Mr. S. only stood-by as a lookout, and was not aware that any of that activity was going to be taking place. The two Co-Defendants had a gun and knife, and Mr. S. did not have any weapon on him. The victims were told to urinate on all of their clothing and throw it around the general area. The Defendants then left, and the victims contacted the police. Mr. S. was the only Defendant to cooperate with the authorities. He showed him where the gun was stored and the location of where other items were deposited. This was done with our help. Ultimately, we secured an offer that included no agreements as to sentencing.

One of the Co-Defendants was sentenced to 9 years in prison, and the other was sentenced to 5 years in prison. We presented extensive mitigation to the Court, and we were also able to secure a request for leniency from one of the victims’ mothers. Although the Judge was initially inclined to sentence Mr. S. to prison, or at least 1 year in jail, we were able to convince the Judge to defer all jail time. Mr. S. successfully completed probation, did not do any time in jail, and is currently enrolled in college. Originally, he was facing a potential of life in prison.

FELONY CHILD ABUSE NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. P (DMC No. 13376) (Phoenix Police Department DR No. 2012-02271258): Mr. P had a 5 year old daughter who was at school when a teacher noticed a bruise on her ear. When the child was questioned, she stated “my daddy spanked me”. The school then called the Police Department.  When Mr.  P arrived at school he was contacted by an Officer of the Phoenix Police Department and he was questioned. He denied noticing any bruising prior to the school day or causing any injury to his daughter.

 

CPS were called and they began an investigation for Child Abuse per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-3623. After both Police contact and the CPS contact, Mr. P (who had just graduated from Law School) contacted our office. Once our services were retained, I met with the Pre Charge team and we decided (1) to have Mr. P take a polygraph, (2) we would be with him when he was interviewed by CPS, (3) we would contact the Detective and then later send him a letter with the polygraph results. 5 days after we were retained, we sat down with the CPS interviewer and his Supervisor we explained to the CPS investigators that the 5 year old had previously gotten in trouble for stealing gum from the Principal’s purse. The theft was previously documented by the school. We then also explained to them that the child admitted that she was mad at her father after she got in trouble for stealing the gum. The real story as to her injury was she fell off the monkey bars and blamed her father due to her anger. Ultimately, no parenting plan or sanctions were put into place by CPS.

 

Approximately 1 week after the CPS meeting, we spoke with the Detective. He stated that the daughter’s allegations were that Mr. P had slapped her, pulled her hair and spanked her. We explained the situation that she had made the story up, and we also informed him that we had met with CPS and they were taking no action. He then requested to speak with Mr. P’s wife in order to receive confirmation of the daughter’s story.

 

Shortly thereafter, we contacted the polygrapher and explained the situation. We crafted the 3 questions would be asked of Mr. P at the exam, and he went in and took the polygraph (which he passed). We then sent a letter with a copy of the results to the Detective. The Detective then reviewed all the evidence and stated “there is no evidence to support a charge of Child Abuse at this time. This report will be closed.” After another contact with the Officer, he filed a supplemental DR stating “This case has been previously closed, and will remain closed.”

EMBEZZLEMENT/FRAUDULENT SCHEMES ($120,000), MONEY LAUNDERING, THEFT, FORGERY and VULNERABLE ADULT ABUSE all NOT CHARGED –State v. Ms. A (DMC No. 9212) (Apache Junction Police Department DR No. 090819003/Pinal County Attorney’s Office Investigated): Ms. A had become the care taker of a 93 year old woman for the last 8 years of her life. While she was working for the woman, she was given a car, and was also authorized to write checks for a total of $120,000 to herself. In addition, the woman had transferred title of her house to Ms. A’s name. Approximately 1 year after she had passed away, the relatives began looking in to all of the woman’s finances and found out that she had dementia. They claim that Ms. A had taken advantage of a Vulnerable Adult and had stolen all of her possessions.

When Apache Junction Police Department became involved, we immediately had Ms. A take a polygraph test. She passed with flying colors. We ultimately secured an agreement that the title of the house would be transferred back into the relatives’ names, and that the relatives would not be challenging the $120,000 or car that Ms. A had received as compensation for 7 years of care giver services. Ultimately, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office turned down all charges.

Mr. B. had dated a girl who had a brother who was emotionally and mentally disabled. After they had broken up, Mr. B. remained friends with the family. He eventually had her adult brother move in with him so he could “teach him some life skills”. It was alleged that over the course of 2 months Mr. B. physically and emotionally abused this vulnerable adult. He was accused of spraying him with a garden hose, kicking him, and “boxing” his ears until the man developed cauliflower ear (which had to be fixed by way of surgery). He was subsequently charged with 3 Counts of Felony Vulnerable Adult Abuse under Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-3623, and 1 Count of Felony Aggravated Assault under Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1204.

At Jury Trial, we were able to dispel most of the allegations, and he was found Not Guilty of the 3 Counts of Felony Vulnerable Adult Abuse. However, he was found guilty of 1 Count of Aggravated Assault for causing a disfigurement to the man’s ears. He was then sentenced to probation with no Jail time. He was originally facing mandatory Prison time if he was to be convicted of all the charges.

CHILD ABUSE NOT CHARGED– State v. Mr. W and Ms. W (DMC No. 8675-8676) (CPS and Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Investigated): Mr. and Ms. W were visiting friend’s in Prescott when their 2 and a half year old child fell off of his bed and hit his head. He was transported to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and had a subdural hematoma and retinal damage. The staff at the Hospital determined that this was “Shaking Baby Syndrome” and the Police were called. CPS took the child away from Mr. and Ms. W.

We began involved and sent all medical records to an Expert Witness/Medical Doctor in Los Angeles, California. He determined that the injuries were consistent with a fall, and Not Shaking Baby Syndrome or Child Abuse. After hearings with CPS, the child was returned to the W’s. The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office declined any prosecution

FELONY AGGRAVATED ASSAULT DISMISSED/ CHILD ABUSED REDUCED to Class 6 Open/Misdemeanor with PROBATION and 12 DAYS of JAIL (time served)– State v. Mr. P (DMC No. 7742) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2007-153961): Mr. P was bipolar and suffered a delusional episode. He tore the gate off his daughters crib and then threw her to the ground. He then called Police and walked out of his house naked. He claimed he had killed his daughter because God told him “I need to take on our all cardinal sins for humanity”.

The Police found that his daughter was shaking up, but relatively unharmed. He was taken into custody and immediately charged with Aggravated Assault and Child Abuse. After we got him released from jail (12 days later), we had him checked into a Psychiatric Treatment Facility. They regulated his behavior with medication, and he hasn’t had any further incidents. We were able to convince the Prosecutor to extend an offer to a Class 6 Open/ Misdemeanor with Probation and credit for the 12 days time served. When Mr. P completed Probation, his case was reduced to a Misdemeanor. He has no Felony convictions on his record.

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