TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Dayton James Dixon, 34, with six counts of Theft in the First Degree and three counts of Theft in the Second Degree, for stealing more than $57,000 from a 73 year old woman, and an 86 year old woman with dementia.
"Our new Elder Abuse team aggressively prosecutes those who exploit some of our most vulnerable victims," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
Mildred Zolman, an 86-year-old woman who suffers from dementia and significant memory loss, lives alone in Tacoma. Her son, Gary Zolman, was recently appointed power-of-attorney for his mother after she had surgery. Mr. Zolman discovered his mother had written eight large checks to "Dayton's Landscaping" between November, 2011 and December, 2012 totaling approximately $50,000.00. The defendant, Dayton Dixon, is the owner and operator of Dayton's Landscaping. Mr. Zolman and police officers noted that Ms. Zolman's yard was standard with no extravagant landscaping. Further investigation confirmed that yard care for the property would cost less than $3000 annually. Ms. Zolman does not recall having written the checks to the defendant.
Ruby Chase is a 73-year-old woman who lives alone at her residence in Puyallup. On June 26, 2011, Ms. Chase agreed to hire the defendant to "fix her yard" for $17,000.00. She told police she was afraid of him at first, but she gave him a deposit in the amount of $8,500.00. The defendant cashed the check, and never returned to Ms. Chase's home to complete the work. Ms. Chase repeatedly called the defendant and he told her he would return the money, but never did.
The defendant was arraigned today in Pierce County Superior Court. He pleaded not guilty, and bail was set at $50,000. Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Kelly Kelstrup, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office