Charges dropped against two arrested for exploiting elderly woman

Charges dropped against two arrested for exploiting elderly woman

By Rikki Mitchell. CREATED Aug 21, 2013 - UPDATED: Aug 22, 2013

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - The charges against a married couple arrested for financially exploiting a 92-year-old woman, were dropped in Pima County Justice Court.

Deputy Jesus Banuelos with the Pima County Sheriff's Department says the charges were dropped because the Attorney General's Office now has the case.

Deputies originally arrested the owners of an adult care facility after an investigation revealed they had financially exploited a 92-year-old woman living there.

Deputy Tracy Suitt with the Pima County Sheriff's Department tells KGUN9 that Joseph Wingate and his wife Rebecca were arrested after an investigation showed that $150,000 had been given to the pair without the elderly woman's permission.

The investigation began in February when Adult Protective Services notified the Sheriff's Department about the exploitation.

Detectives learned that the Wingates made themselves the woman's Power of Attorney and gained access to her trust.

They couple went to Disneyland, bought a van and began building a garage to house their new van and other items.

The 92-year-old woman never gave them permission to use her finances, have access to her trust or allowed them to change her will.

The Wingates are the owners of Wingate Adult Care Home, where the victim lived.

The pair were arrested and charged with Theft from a Vulnerable Adult and Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices. The elderly woman was moved to another adult care home where the Wingates can not contact her.

The Arizona Department of Health Services is investigating the incident to determine what will happen to the facility's license.

The charges could be re-filed in Superior Court once the Attorney General's Office looks over the case.

Rikki Mitchell

Rikki Mitchell

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Rikki Mitchell is a proud University of Arizona grad and joined the KGUN9 team after graduation. Rikki reports for the evening newscasts.