A 57-year-old Norco woman accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars belonging to two seniors with dementia pleaded not guilty Friday to financial elder abuse and other charges.
Kymberly Sue Adams was arrested in January following a monthslong investigation by the California Department of Justice’s Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse Unit.
Along with the two counts of financial elder abuse, Adams is charged with two counts of grand theft and four counts of money laundering, with sentence-enhancing allegations of taking or destroying property in a white-collar crime.
Adams was arraigned before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Hollenhorst, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for Aug. 20 at the Banning Justice Center.
Adams is free on a $125,000 bond.
According to state prosecutors, she was given power of attorney to manage the affairs of a woman identified in court documents only as “Ethel S.” and a man identified only as “Roger W.”
The victims, both of the San Jacinto Valley, were residents of an assisted living facility, and because of their cognitive challenges, were unable to pay bills or control other aspects of their lives, prosecutors said.
Between 2014 and 2018, Adams was responsible for ensuring that their needs were met, including paying for their care via accounts belonging to the pair, according to court papers.
But prosecutors allege that Adams instead pocketed nearly $300,000 of the victims’ funds, spending on her requirements and ignoring theirs.
An investigation was initiated when the victims became at risk of being evicted from their assisted living apartments, according to the DOJ.
Audits uncovered numerous alleged discrepancies in the victims’ accounts, pointing to transactions involving Adams, who was “abusing her role as power of attorney,” the DOJ stated.
“Decisions that affect a client’s financial status should be made based on the client’s best interest,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said. “Our senior citizens shouldn’t have to live in fear of becoming the next victim of financial elder abuse.”
Adams has no documented prior convictions in Riverside County.
Details regarding her relationship to the victims and why she was appointed their guardian were not disclosed.
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