Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Perry County coroner avoids prison time in financial-exploitation case

Perry County Coroner Herbert Miller was sentenced to two seven-year sentences with the Missouri Department of Corrections on Friday in Perry County Court in Perryville, Missouri, to be served concurrently but was granted a suspended sentence and received five years of supervised probation.

Miller was convicted Oct. 16 of financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person and theft of $25,000 or more. One of the conditions of Miller's probation is he must repay $80,600 in restitution for the amount of money he stole. If he violates his probation, he is in danger of going to prison.

Miller said he will remain Perry County coroner, the position he has held for 20 years to which he was re-elected in 2012. Missouri statutes require a person holding public office, elected or appointed, who is convicted of an offense to forfeit the office if the office holder is convicted of a felony or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to an offense involving misconduct in office or dishonesty. Those convicted of felonies are ineligible to hold any public office under Missouri's government.

The next election for Perry County coroner is in November.

Miller was given power of attorney by the victim in 2004, when she was 83 years old. She was diagnosed with dementia in 2008 and entered a nursing home.

Between 2011 and 2013, Miller wrote several checks from her account -- 78 to "cash" totaling $51,400 and another seven to Miller Funeral Home totaling $34,000. Miller testified in court the checks made to "cash" were used to buy items for the victim. Miller admitted to accepting gifts but none more than $200, and he added the victim always approved each payment, including those to the funeral home.

When the victim moved into the nursing home, she gave Miller and his wife, Kathleen, a trust that granted them $1,000 when the victim retired from the trust. Miller testified in court he was unaware he received $1,000 from the trust.

Dr. Mark Schabbing testified the victim suffered memory problems since 2000, which he attributed to normal pressure hydrocephalus. By mid-2013, the victim was out of money and $20,000 in arrears at the nursing home where she lived and applying for Medicaid, testified Greg Martin, who investigated the case while with the Department of Health and Human Services. Martin interviewed the victim and said there was no way she could have given a credible statement. The victim died in February 2014 at age 94.

Kathleen Miller also was named as an associate trustee, and she testified her relationship with the victim was close and refuted some of the claims about the victim's memory in court.

On Friday, several people testified on Miller's behalf, but no one testified on behalf of the victim, a Perry County Circuit Court official said.

Full Article & Source:
Perry County coroner avoids prison time in financial-exploitation case

See Also:
Perry County coroner accused of financially exploiting 94-year-old woman

Financial exploitation case against Perry County coroner set for trial

Perry County, MO coroner found guilty of financial exploitation

1 comment:

Melissa said...

If I'd done it, I'd be in jail!