|Former Pinole police Cmdr. Matthew Messier arrives at Hayward courtroom for his sentencing on Jan. 21, 2015.|
A former Pinole police commander was sentenced Wednesday to two months in jail after being accused of defrauding an elderly Pleasanton neighbor who had dementia by placing her entire estate into a trust he controlled.
Matthew Messier, 38, pleaded no contest in September to a single felony charge of filing a false document relating to his own bankruptcy. In exchange for his plea, Alameda County prosecutors dismissed charges of grand theft, attempted grand theft and elder abuse relating to his late neighbor, Jean Phyllis Jones.
But at a hearing in Hayward, Superior Court Judge Michael Gaffey castigated Messier, saying he had manipulated, taken advantage of and tried to take the home of an elderly woman he had just met in 2012.
“Even when they started looking, you wouldn’t let go,” Gaffey said, referring to how Messier continued seeking Jones’ assets after investigators began looking into his actions. “You did everything in your power to get your mitts on what Ms. Jones has.”
Deputy District Attorney Connie Campbell told the judge: “What the defendant did to this victim was cruel and vicious. He chose to do it under color of authority as a police officer.”
The prosecutor added outside court, “I know a lot of very honest, good cops, and I think it’s sad that what he did reflects poorly on law enforcement in general.” She also said Jones’ estate remains intact.
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Ex-cop accused of victimizing elderly neighbor gets 2 months