TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Madonna Debby Page, 40, with multiple counts of theft. Between June 17, 2010 and February 29, 2012, the defendant benefited over $200,000 from an 86-year-old man suffering from dementia. The defendant was arraigned today and pled not guilty. Her next court appearance is scheduled for April 4, 2013.
"Our Elder Fraud team vigorously prosecutes cases of elder fraud and theft," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. "We encourage family and friends of elder victims to come forward and report these crimes against some of the most vulnerable members of our community."
When the defendant and victim met, he was living independently, but had been experiencing health problems for years. Friends and neighbors noticed the victim becoming increasingly forgetful. One neighbor became concerned after she assisted the victim with his finances and discovered several checks written to the defendant for large sums of money. At one point, the defendant accompanied the victim to his attorney's office where he attempted to add her as a beneficiary to his estate. The attorney refused because he believed the victim lacked capacity.
In August 2011, Adult Protective Services (APS) received an anonymous report that the victim was being financially exploited by the defendant. An APS employee made an unannounced visit to the victim. When questioned about his finances, he was surprised at the amount of money believed to be missing. The APS employee explained that if the trend continued there may not be enough money for him to care for his wife, but the victim stated, "that isn't going to happen any time soon." The defendant added, "I should know, I write the checks for [his wife's] care."
In November of 2011, the victim's primary care provider stated that he was suffering from dementia. The APS employee contacted the defendant at the victim's home. The defendant explained that she "takes care of him and he takes care of her." She added that they were merely companions. The defendant was married to another 81-year-old man at the time. When questioned about an estimated $100,000 she spent from the victim's account in a two-month period, she stated, "He gives me the money. Tell them. You do it because you want to."
In February 2012, a Vulnerable Adult Protection Order was obtained, restraining the defendant from contact with the victim. The victim was evaluated by a physician, who stated that the victim needed assistance in managing his personal and financial affairs. A detailed investigation in to the victim's finances revealed the defendant spent approximately $112,495.83 at local businesses including nail salons and a gynecology office. She also gambled $11,669.50 of the victim's money at local casinos. In total, the defendant benefited over $200,000.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
For more information, please contact Emily Conlee at (253) 798-6265, [email protected] or Kelly Kelstrup at (253) 798-7792, [email protected].