Saturday, February 4, 2017

EM woman sues accusers in elderly exploitation case

An East Moline woman accused of elderly exploitation in 2015 is suing her accusers for malicious prosecution.

Alice M. Hipes, 60, filed the lawsuit in Rock Island County Circuit Court against Alternatives for the Older Adult Inc., one of its employees and East Moline police officer Darren Gault.

Ms. Hipes was arrested in February 2015 and charged in Rock Island County with financial exploitation of an elderly person. The arrest stemmed from an East Moline Police Department investigation based off a tip received by Alternatives for the Older Adult.

Ms. Hipes claims Alternatives for the Older Adult employee Katie Judge "falsely alleged" to East Moline police that Ms. Hipes had "financially exploited more than $70,000 from Donald Kinchner," whom Ms. Hipes served as a caregiver for about ten years, according to the lawsuit.

Further investigation reduced the alleged exploited sum to $47,300, according to the lawsuit.

According to Dispatch•Argus archives, Ms. Judge told police she visited the alleged victim, a 92-year-old man, several times and that he smelled of urine and lived in "substandard" conditions, which included a limited supply of expired food.

Ms. Hipes had been hired to run errands and buy groceries for the man. In exchange, she received $800 per month, plus "whatever money" she needed for personal use, according to East Moline police.

Rock Island County prosecutors dropped charges against Ms. Hipes on April 8, 2016, after a judge blocked the use of a message recorded by Mr. Kinchner before his May 2015 death.

Prosecutors were not allowed to use the recorded message in a trial because it would have violated the defendant's right to cross examine all witnesses, according to the ruling.

Ms. Hipes' attorney told the Dispatch•Argus that no forensic accounting was done to investigate his client's case. He said after the investigator learned Mr. Kinchner paid his bills primarily in cash, the investigator subpoenaed bills and other financial statements, which accounted for the "vast majority" of the money alleged to be missing.

The lawsuit describes the harm Ms. Hipes suffered because of the case, saying she "sustained substantial damages to her reputation, severe emotional and mental distress" and "lost income from employment as a caregiver." Additionally, she was incarcerated in Rock Island County Jail, had her arrest publicized in local news outlets and was deprived of continuing her relationship with Mr. Kinchner.

Ms. Hipes is requesting damages in excess of $100,000.

Alternatives for the Older Adult was unable to comment on the litigation. East Moline Police Department said it does not agree with the allegations and will let the case play out in court.

Full Article & Source:
EM woman sues accusers in elderly exploitation case


Elizabeth said...

If more people who are falsely accused (mainly families) sued, perhaps false accusations wouldn't be cast so quickly.

Kay said...

When people get old, especially those who have survived the great depression, many start to think someone or everybody is stealing from them, including their own children. It's important law enforcement and APS look into these allegations because they may be brought on by Alzheimer's or Dementia.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand the two previous commenters. The employee stole $47,000. Not $70,000, but still a substantial amount! The case cannot be judged because the man died. $800/ month for her caregiving services; does not explain her responsibilities, if she was paid by this company, nor if neglect occurred. Urine smell and expired food does not explain if HE wanted to live that way, or if she pocketed the money instead of providing personal care and meals.

Chris Glenn said...

Re: the post by Anonymous above... She did not steal $47,000. The original charge accused her of stealing $70,000, then they quickly reduced it to $47,000. However, at the time that they dropped the amount to $47,000, investigators had done exactly zero work to try and reconcile the remaining $47,000. Once the invoices were subpoenaed for living expenses that he paid for with cash, the defense was quickly able to reconcile the remaining $47,000. Ms. Hipes stole nothing.

Sylvia Rudek said...

Unusual case that has the potential to hold accusers accountable with consequences. Litigation opens the door for the opportunity to obtain records and documents during discovery.