Alert Burton senior center director uncovers $50,000 embezzlement case
(9/25/2018) - "We are always on the lookout. That is one of our number one missions. So, when anybody comes in and starts talking to us about an issue that's going on, it's really important that you listen and that you ask questions," explained Burton Senior Activities Center Director Jean Johnson.
She said that approach is what brought to light two years of abuse endured by one of the seniors she works with.
"She was brave enough to tell me that there was some issues going on," Johnson said.
"You know, Jean Johnson is really I think, the heroine in this case," Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said.
He explained earlier this year, she alerted his Elder Abuse Task Force, who found 58-year-old Virginia Brown had stolen $50,780 from the woman.
The Sheriff said the two met at church shortly after the woman's guardian passed away; and, Brown convinced the woman to sign her money over to her. Once she did, Brown immediately had the woman buy her a new home, which she moved the woman into.
"What happened next was a tenant was paying the victim money on a land contract; and several months of those payments on the land contract were put into the defendants pocket, they never made it to the bank," Sheriff Pickell said.
With that $7,600, plus another $5,000 that Brown wrote in checks from the woman's bank account, she took a trip to Florida.
"The worst is yet to come," Sheriff Pickell added. "In January 2018, the defendant Virginia Brown, without the consent of the victim, withdrew $40,000 from the victim's annuity."
That money was also spent on a trip to Florida.
"These are my friends and to see that somebody would see a situation that someone could be taken advantage of and then do that, that just, it makes me very angry and disappointed in our society," Johnson said.
Brown is facing up to 15 years behind bars.
Johnson said the woman is doing much better now that the situation is under control.
For more information on the Sheriff's Elder Abuse Task Force, click on the 'Related Links' section of this story.