LANSING, Mich. (WJBK)
A 31-year-old Redford woman is facing felony embezzlement charges after investigators say she used more than $140,000 of her elderly father's money for luxury vehicles, casinos and trips to tanning and nail salons.
Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement that Renee Bullock faces up to 10 years in prison, if convicted.
Bullock was granted general power of attorney by her father in June, 2010 and named his temporary guardian and conservator in January. Schuette says during that time and until a court appointed conservator took control of her father's assets in March 2012 Bullock allegedly failed to pay the nursing facility.
It's also alleged she paid for a leased Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Tahoe and used her father's funds at casinos, salon, restaurants and retail locations. Bullock remains free on a $10,000 personal bond. A Dec. 6 preliminary exam is scheduled.
Schuette offers the following tips to Michigan Seniors to protect their money and avoid financial exploitation:
-Stay connected to your community. Social isolation increases your risk of becoming a victim of abuse. Find out about community programs or social activities in your neighborhood.
-Put all financial instructions in writing. This protects you and reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings. Keep records of all transactions.
-Before you assign a power of attorney, be sure you understand the authority you are giving to your agent. Know the person to whom you are giving this authority. Write in the agreement whether the agent will be paid or not, and if so, how much.
-Be cautious of joint accounts. Both parties are equal owners of the account and both have equal access to the money.
-Ask someone to review your financial agreements. Your attorney, accountant, or a bank employee can detect changes in your financial activity that may signal a problem. You can also ask a trusted friend or relative to review your monthly statements.
-Ask a bank employee, a trusted family member, or a social worker or other professional for help when you are unsure about financial matters.
To report suspected financial abuse of a Michigan vulnerable adult, citizens should call the Attorney General's Health Care Fraud Hotline, 1-800-24-ABUSE (1-800-242-2873).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.