Reno artist Peggy Viola Six, 64, befriended a woman 18 years ago while they were neighbors at a local trailer park.
Six, who described 88-year-old Gayle Savage as a mother figure, helped her buy a home and a vehicle after Savage received a large inheritance in 2004. But once Savage developed dementia in July 2008, Six’s greed “reared it’s ugly head and she took advantage of Gayle Savage,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Karl Hall. As a result, Savage is in a state-run nursing home in Carson City instead of being able to afford home health-care and own pets, he said.
In less than one year, Six and Reno real estate broker Robin Benjamin, 65, stole more than $330,000 from Savage’s bank accounts and unlawfully sold her Southeast Reno home. Six gambled more than $500 a day with Savage’s money, purchased a motor home for her personal travel, and used the rest to invest in her artistry business and other ventures suggested by Benjamin.
Washoe District Judge Janet Berry sentenced Six to probation for her guilty plea of elderly exploitation. Six was facing a term of four to 10 years, which the state parole and probation division recommended. But Berry said prison would not help Six pay back $337,166.58 in restitution for the money she stole. The exploitation increased after Six obtained power of attorney over Savage while she was hospitalized, Hall said.
Washoe County Public Guardian Case manager Pamela Johnston told Berry that the exploitation caused Savage to become a ward of the state, and the money recouped for her will run out next year. That’s when taxpayers begin footing the $8,000 monthly fee for her care through Medicaid.
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Reno Woman Gets Probtion in Elderly Exploitation Case After Stealing More Than $330,000