Archive for the ‘Mississippi’ Category

Defendant Refuses to Communicate With His Attorneys; Exploitation Case Still Set for Trial

October 31, 2013

Defendant Richard Edwards’ actions with regard to refusing to communicate with his attorneys are detrimental to no one but himself, he was told by a judge Tuesday.

Mr. Edwards, 44, is charged with felony exploitation of the elderly. The defendant allegedly took $110,000 from the life savings of a 100-year-old retired teacher.

Circuit Judge Dan Kellogg told the defendant he’d only hurt himself by not talking with the two attorneys.
 
The judge also heard a motion Tuesday for a continuance filed by Christopher Bowers and Robert Young. The two attorneys have filed repeated motions to withdraw from the case, and Mr. Kellogg has denied them. Mr. Bowers and Mr. Young notified the court Tuesday that prosecutor Ron Holliday had provided additional discovery on Oct. 16.
That information, from testimony given by Donnie Embrey, 46, was the opposite of what their client had told them. Mr. Embrey entered a guilty plea in September to taking about $242,000 from the victim. Both attorneys wanted more time to take depositions from Mr. Embrey and other possible witnesses.
 
Mr. Bowers notified the court that he’d appealed Mr. Kellogg’s previous ruling, refusing to allow the attorneys to withdraw.
 
“I doubt the Court of Appeals will address this issue,” Mr. Holliday said.

Full Article and Source:
Exploitation Case Still Set for Trial

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Rossen Reports: Thieves target seniors at nursing homes

October 26, 2013
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Across the United States, nursing-home residents are having their money stolen by people they know: the homes’ bookkeepers and office managers who handle their trust funds and manage their expenses.

It’s a crime that’s been committed against thousands of nursing-home residents, including Leo Foster’s 89-year-old mother at the Vicksburg Convalescent Center in Vicksburg, Miss.

“It made me feel sick at my stomach,” Leo’s wife Phyllis Foster told TODAY’s National Investigative Correspondent Jeff Rossen. “It just didn’t dawn on me that someone would be so low as to steal from a vulnerable adult.”

Police learned that a woman named Lee Ray Martin, a business office coordinator at the Vicksburg Convalescent Center and Shady Lawn Health and Rehabilitation homes, had been raiding residents’ trust accounts.

“In (a) three-month period there were 12 or 15 cash withdrawals,” Phyllis Foster said of her mother-in-law’s account. “And we knew that there was something drastically wrong.”

In August, Martin pleaded guilty to 29 counts of exploitation of a vulnerable person and one count of conspiracy. She is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from 83 residents’ trust funds and going on shopping sprees at stores like J.C. Penney, Gap, Walmart and American Eagle. In one instance, Martin bought a pair of designer jeans and expensed them to an elderly resident with no legs.

Full Article and Source:
Rossen Reports: Thieves target seniors at nursing homes

Inheritance guardian sentenced for embezzlement

September 7, 2013

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A lawyer appointed to oversee the inheritance of a civil rights leader’s grandson has been sentenced in Mississippi to serve 30 years in prison for using hundreds of thousands of dollars for himself.

Attorney Michael Brown was sentenced Aug. 29 in Rankin County to 40 years, with 10 suspended, on two counts of embezzlement related to the estate left to the grandson of late civil rights leader Aaron Henry.

Brown, 56, of Rankin County, represented himself during the four-day trial. He remains incarcerated and was not available for comment Thursday. A telephone call to the sheriff’s office was not immediately returned.

Henry, a former state legislator who led the state NAACP for more than 30 years, died in 1997 at the age of 74, leaving his estate to his only daughter, Rebecca. She died in 2000, with her estate going to her two sons, Rankin County District Attorney Michael Guest said in a telephone interview Thursday.

Guest said a guardianship was set up in Hinds County in 2000 for Henry’s grandson, Demon McClinton, who was a minor at the time.

Brown was under court order to use the funds strictly for the benefit of the child, but he put the money in his personal escrow account, spending some of it on five cars over a period of several weeks in 2001 and investing $550,000 in a cemetery, Guest said.

Rankin County brought criminal charges because the checks for the Lakeland Place Garden Cemetery investment were written in the county, Guest said. Brown faces additional charges in Hinds County, where Guest said other fraudulent transactions occurred.

Brown closed the guardianship in 2006 after spending $1.2 million and then filed fraudulent paperwork with the Hinds County Chancery court to make it appear the money was properly spent for the benefit of McClinton, Guest said.

The estate was reopened in 2011 when Hinds County Chancellor Dewayne Thomas held a series of hearings that uncovered the fraud, Guest said.

Full Article and Source:
Inheritance guardian sentenced for embezzlement

Columbus Nursing Home Operator Arrested — Nooner Has History Of Arrests, Tax Evasion

July 28, 2013

A Saltillo man who operates an assisted living facility in Columbus was arrested Thurs., July 18.
Dennis “Denny” Nooner Jr, of 198 Knight Drive, Saltillo, was arrested by deputies with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and charged with felony false pretense and driving with a suspended license. According to http://homeplacecolumbusms.com, Nooner is listed as the owner of the assisted living facility, Home Place, located at 208 Yorkville Road E. in Columbus.

The website for Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman shows Nooner as an officer for Columbus Home Place and Dogwood Home Place Assisted Living, LLC in Saltillo. Home Place in Columbus is listed as a dissolved LLC and Dogwood Home Place is listed as intent to dissolve the limited liability corporation.

 According to a spokesperson for the LCSO, Nooner was arrested for writing a fraudulent check in 2011 for $6,000. The check was written to Merchants Foodservice on an account at Renasant Bank.
Nooner was indicted November 1, 2012, by the Lowndes County Grand Jury for false pretense. Nooner was arrested in Lee County and extradited to Columbus where was booked into the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center. Nooner, 52, was released on a $5,000 bond.

Full Article and Source:
Columbus Nursing Home Operator Arrested — Nooner Has History Of Arrests, Tax Evasion

Two Indicted in Vicksburg for Exploitation of Vulnerable Person

May 29, 2012

Two Vicksburg residents have been indicted by a Warren County Grand Jury on charges of conspiracy and exploitation of a vulnerable person.

Angela Palmer, 44, was charged with one count of conspiracy and four counts of exploitation of a vulnerable person, said Attorney General Jim Hood.

Palmer is accused of taking more than $6,700 from an elderly relative who was a patient at Vicksburg Convalescent Center.

Palmer is also accused of conspiring with Lee Martin, 38, who was the business office coordinator for both Vicksburg Convalescent Center and Shady Lawn Health and Rehab.

Martin has been charged with 29 counts of exploitation of a vulnerable person and one count of conspiracy.

Martin is accused of taking more than $101,000 from vulnerable persons at both facilities.

A trial is set for April.

Source:
Two Indicted in Vicksburg for Exploitation of Vulnerable Person

Courts Look to Law to Prevent Fiduciary Theft

April 19, 2012

Chancery Courts in Harrison and Hinds County are following required safeguards to protect the assets of children and vulnerable adults because, they confirm, attorneys in their jurisdictions either stole or improperly spent millions of dollars entrusted to them.

In Gulfport, attorney Woodrow W. “Woody” Pringle III stole at least $2.4 million from accounts he managed for children and vulnerable adults, a forensic accounting shows. He spent some of the cash on a house in Windemere, Fla, where he lived with his third wife, and on travel expenses to and from Florida to Gulfport, according to the records.

Pringle committed suicide in December 2010 in a hotel room at the Orlando Ritz-Carlton, overdosing on alcohol and pain killers, after Harrison County Chancery Clerk John McAdams discovered the attorney had falsified bank records for a veteran’s guardianship account. A forensic accounting has since revealed the extent of his thievery from numerous accounts he oversaw.

In Jackson, attorney William J. Brown embezzled or misappropriated almost $1.7 million from a guardianship, a Chancery Court judge determined in March.

The two cases have one thing in common: Neither attorney was filing the annual accountings that state law requires for guardianships, conservatorships and estate accounts overseen by chancery court, court officials concede. Chancery clerks are responsible under state law for turning over a list each year of guardians and conservators who are delinquent in filing the accountings required by state law. Once judges have the list, they are supposed to demand the accountings and hold in contempt any account administrators who fail to produce them.

In the Pringle and Brown cases, attorneys also have noted, banks have in some cases failed to follow court orders that restrict spending of funds from the court-supervised accounts.

Full Article and Source:
Courts Look to Law to Prevent Another Pringle Incident

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Editorial – Trust Must Be Restored

Editorial: The Trust Must Be Restored

April 13, 2012

There is a maddening irony in the fact that those who lost money entrusted to an “officer of the court” must now turn to the courts to try to recover some portion of their devastated estates.

Gulfport attorney Woodrow W. Pringle III may have stolen almost $2.4 million from bank accounts he managed for children and adults unable to handle their own affairs.

Summoned to Gulfport, where he was born and raised and still practiced law, the 56-year-old Pringle left his home in Windemere, Fla., and checked into a luxury hotel in Orlando in December 2010. There, according to a medical examiner’s ruling, he committed suicide.

On the morning of his death, Pringle emailed Harrison County Chancery Clerk John McAdams, saying: “I want to apologize for abusing your trust. I abused the trust of my family, friends, judges and so many others. I was able to do this for so long because people trusted me and believed in me. I am truly sorry and want you and everyone else to know that no one ever knew this was happening.”

Since then, one lawsuit has been filed against Harrison County and two against McAdams over Pringle’s misdeeds. McAdams also is suing Pringle’s widow on behalf of seven victims whose money allegedly went to buy the Pringles’ house.

The purpose of these lawsuits is to recover money, not to uncover how Pringle was able to dupe so many for so long.

What is certain is that chancery clerks, including McAdams, have for years failed to follow a state law that requires them to compose a list each year of guardians or conservators who are delinquent in filing accountings of the money they manage for children and vulnerable adults. Chancery Court judges then have the authority to demand those accountings from delinquent filers, the law says.

Pringle managed such accounts for McAdams and the chancery judges of Harrison County. Hours before his death, Pringle acknowledged betraying the trust those officials placed in him. But more than a year later, it is still unclear why those officials did not do more — or at the very least, what the law requires — to verify that trust.

The lawyer for McAdams, Donald Dornan of Biloxi, said: “We were all shocked … when Woody Pringle had embezzled funds from all these vulnerable adults and minors over a period of years. Now that we’ve investigated it, we know that he was very meticulous in presenting falsified accountings to the chancery judges and secretly depositing guardianship and conservatorship funds into his own trust account. Nobody knew what he was doing.”

Pringle started stealing as early as 2004, according to the forensic accounting undertaken after his death. He kept getting by with it with “some song and dance … something he made up,” as one attorney put it.

“He seemed to know what he was doing,” McAdams said of Pringle.

But why didn’t anyone else know?

Full Editorial and Source:
The Trust That Pringle Stole Must Be Restored

MS Lawyer Jailed for Fraud and Contempt

February 8, 2012

A Rankin County attorney is in the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond. Hinds County Chancery Judge Dwayne Thomas said Michael J. Brown will stay there until he accounts for and returns a lot of money that belongs to the grandson of a late civil rights legend.

The court found that Brown was supposed to establish a guardianship account for at least $3 million dollars inherited by De Mon McClinton from his mother, Rebecca Henry McClinton.

Brown never did.

His mother, the daughter of the late Doctor Aaron Henry, died in 2000 when McClinton was 16-years-old.

Brown never deposited the funds into a bank as required by a court order 12 years ago.

He loaned out $550,000 of McClinton’s money and personally borrowed another half-million dollars from McClinton’s funds in 2001.

Additionally, Brown forged two checks totaling more than $230,000.

And in 2001, Brown tried to have a $398,000 fee approved in Hinds County Chancery Court for getting McClinton’s funds from his mother’s estate.

Judge Thomas ordered Brown’s case turned over to the Hinds County district attorney and to the Mississippi Bar.

Full Article and Source:
Flowood Attorney Jailed for Fraud and Contempt

>Shelter for Elderly

December 16, 2010

>Shelters have existed locally to help abused children, unwed mothers and even abandoned puppies, but until recently, no such place existed for Mississippi’s abused, displaced or abandoned seniors.

The doors are now open on the Elder Justice Center Emergency Shelter, a project of the Mississippi Center for Police and Sheriffs, aimed at making a safe haven for older people who have been the victims of financial fraud, abuse, neglect or are homeless because of a fire, natural disaster or foreclosure. Men and women 60 and older referred by the courts, law enforcement or the state Department of Human Services can stay there up to two months.

This is the first shelter of its kind in Mississippi, said Steve Pickett, chief deputy with the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department. It’s seen as a pilot program, that organizers hope will be replicated in other parts of the state.

Full Article and Source:
Shelter for Elderly Provides Home for Abused, Lost

New Shelter for Elderly Victims of Abuse

October 12, 2010

Hinds County law enforcement officials are close to opening an emergency shelter for seniors that they say will help protect elderly victims of abuse or neglect statewide.

“Seniors are the largest growing population worldwide, and Mississippi is no exception,” Sheriff’s Department project manager Ruth Marie Stogner said. So authorities are expecting to see more crimes targeting the elderly, especially those with physical or mental ailments.

Mississippians age 65 or older number more than 364,000 and make up 12.5 percent of the population, according to 2009 Census estimates. That’s an increase of 6 percent in the last decade.

The state Attorney General’s Office investigates cases of abuse, neglect, fraud and exploitation of vulnerable adults. Its investigators have opened 812 new cases this year, up from 591 last year.

The emergency shelter is a renovated house in southwest Jackson that will provide temporary living quarters and care for up to eight.

“We will be able to take them out of a bad situation and give them a safe home until we can locate their Medicaid or Social Security and can put them in a place where it is stable,” Stogner said.

Full Article and Source:
Shelter for Elderly to Open in Hinds