When Kristina Berger’s mom died of leukemia in the fall of 2008, her already fragile world crumbled.
But the nightmare had only begun for Berger, one of four people who police say were victimized by Patience Bristol, a court-appointed, private guardian accused of stealing nearly $200,000 worth of money and jewelry from her wards.
Las Vegas police arrested Bristol, 38, on Oct. 7. She faces 15 charges in the case, according to police reports.
Berger, 50, suffers from bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, a brain disorder that causes severe shifts in mood. From 2001 until fall 2008, she was under the guardianship of her mother, Margaret Maul.
“I was just in total grief and meltdown,” Berger said of her state following her mother’s death.
She lost control of her life. She struggled with diabetes after her weight shot up to nearly 300 pounds.
After her mother died, Family Court appointed a private guardian for Berger to oversee her financial and personal affairs. The court appointed Bristol, who at the time was employed by Professional Fiduciary Services of Nevada.
“After a year in their care, I was absolutely petrified,” Berger said Thursday.
Bristol tried to convince her that her father, who lives in Seattle, didn’t care about her, and that her sister was trying to steal from her, Berger said.
According to police, Bristol stole at least $47,000 worth of jewelry from Berger’s estate and sold much of it at pawn shops.
Bristol faces three counts of obtaining money under false pretenses and four counts of exploitation of a vulnerable person. She also was charged with eight counts of burglary in connection to the selling of stolen goods, according to police reports.
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