Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

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Nephew Convicted Of Stealing Aunt's Assets

January 27, 2004

Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the conviction of Willie R. Mothershed on charges of Criminal Mistreatment in the First Degree and Theft in the First Degree. Mothershed was sentenced by Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge John Wittmayer to three years probation, including a requirement that he serve 45 days in jail and reimburse the state nearly $10,000 in Medicaid costs. Mothershed also is prohibited from acting in any capacity as a fiduciary for another person.

Mothershed, 62, was the nephew and caregiver for his 92-year-old aunt. In May 2001, the aunt signed a power of attorney naming Mothershed as her attorney-in-fact for her legal and financial matters. Due to her deteriorating health and mental condition, the aunt moved to an adult living facility in July 2001. Shortly thereafter, Mothershed began diverting his aunt's assets for his personal use. The "Willie R. Mothershed, POA for (aunt)" signature allowed Mothershed to close his aunt's accounts, write checks on her accounts, cash her certificates of deposits, and sell her property.

In December 2001, Mothershed sold his aunt's car and in January 2002, he sold her main asset, her North Portland home. By July 2002, Mothershed was requesting that his aunt be placed on Medicaid because "she had used up all her money." Multnomah County Adult Protective Services became suspicious after a records check revealed the rapid depletion of the aunt's assets. They in turn contacted the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Unit, who coordinated with the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office, to investigate and prosecute this case. The Medicaid Fraud Unit was able to obtain and subpoena documents showing that Mothershed used his aunt's funds to pay for items including radio advertisements, numerous out-of-state plane trips, and jewelry.

Pending the investigation, Medicaid did cover the costs of the victim's care, until her death October 8, 2002.

"It's a reprehensible offense when any senior is victimized by one in which they placed trust," Myers said. "Elder abuse cases such as this are extremely challenging to investigate and prosecute. Nevertheless, this resolution underscores that a power of attorney is not a blank check and similar abuses will be vigorously pursued in Oregon."

The Medicaid Fraud Unit of the Oregon Department of Justice works with state and federal law enforcement and local district attorneys to investigate and prosecute fraud involving Medicaid Programs. It has jurisdiction over cases involving fraud by providers against the Medicaid Program/Oregon Health Plan; physical or financial abuse or neglect of residents of Medicaid funded facilities, and fraud in the administration of the Medicaid Program.

Contact:

Ellyn Sternfield, (503) 229-5725 Attorney-in-Charge, Oregon DOJ Medicaid Fraud Unit |
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