A Montana woman was convicted last Friday of bilking her elderly mother out of more than $120,000 from proceeds of a reverse mortgage, reports the Missoulian.
Paulette Homer was found guilty by District Judge Karen Townsend of using the funds from a reverse mortgage taken out on her mother’s home to pay off her own credit card debts, buy jewelry, stable her horses, pay medical bills, take out thousands of dollars of cash withdrawals, and other illegal uses, according to the article.
Homer’s mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and prosecutors argue she did not have the “capacity to appreciate or understand” what she was doing when the reverse mortgage was taken out in the spring of 2008, as arranged by Homer, according to witnesses at the trial.
The case pitted Homer against her three siblings, all of whom believed their sister had abused their mother’s trust and taken advantage of her condition to fund the relief of Homer’s debt and her purchases, which also included furniture and other items for a new condominium. In opening and closing arguments, prosecutors Jennifer Clark and Cory Laird told the judge that elder abuse is rampant in the U.S., and that Homer’s actions are yet another example of it.
“Every time we look the other way and we allow this to occur, we give these criminals a pass,” said Laird in his closing argument on Friday.
Homer’s court-appointed attorney, Lisa Kauffman, did not offer a closing statement and did not put her client on the stand. Kauffman argued that Homer’s three siblings were merely incensed that they did not get any of their mother’s money, and told the judge in opening arguments that “the state should be ashamed” for bringing charges against her client. She argued that Homer’s mother was aware of what she was doing and that it constituted a “gift” to her daughter.”
Read the full story here.
Written by Alyssa Gerace