Caretaker Sandra Gayle convinced a retired Springfield pathologist that Gayle and her family were the only ones she could trust — then took “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from the woman, a prosecutor said. Tuesday.
Assistant state’s attorney Karen Tharp said in opening statements in Gayle’s trial on financial exploitation charges that Gayle, 65, “gifted” more than $300,000 from the 93-year-old doctor’s bank account to herself and her family members. Gayle also paid personal bills with the doctor’s money, Tharp said.
Defense attorney Jason Vincent said the evidence will show that Gayle, who began caring for the physician in January 2004, did everything on the up-and-up.
Vincent said the doctor had a financial adviser, an attorney and an accountant, and “Gayle would take her (the doctor) to their offices and lay everything out for them.”
“It was (the doctor’s) decision to do these giftings, not Sandra Gayle’s,” he said.
Gayle is accused of financial exploitation of the elderly and financial exploitation of a disabled person. She allegedly took money from the victim, who has no known heirs and assets of at least $2 million, between Nov. 24, 2004, and April 12, 2007. Gayle received free room and board at the woman’s house while drawing a salary of $1,344 a week.
Vincent said that amounted to little more than $8.50 an hour, considering that Gayle was on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
He said there was no gifting after the doctor was diagnosed with dementia in June 2007.
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Trial Begins for Caretaker Accused of Fraud