Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Elderly Woman in Virginia Cheated Out of Savings by Lawyer She Trusted, Family Alleges
When Edward died and Pearl was legally blind and suffering from dementia, the family was there to help. Relatives organized in-home care for the 90-year-old and took her to doctor’s appointments.
But with a single phone call in 2008, family members said they were cut out of her care — and then her life. Buckley’s lawyer told them that he had power of attorney, or broad legal authority to manage her affairs and finances under an agreement she signed years earlier. He was also the executor of the couple’s wills.
James Kincheloe slowly took over every aspect of Buckley’s life over the next 18 months, exercising a control so complete that one relative described her as a “prisoner in her own home.” The family alleges in a lawsuit and interviews that he drained more than $850,000 from her life savings, changed her doctors, cut off her phone and wouldn’t let relatives visit unsupervised.
Most galling of all to her family, the woman who loved having relatives around spent her final moments alone in a hospital. Family members said Kincheloe never informed them that Buckley was dying in 2009.
An attorney for some of Buckley’s family members said it is one of the worst cases of elder financial abuse he has seen in Virginia and all the more troubling because Kincheloe was able to legally circumvent portions of a state law intended to protect the elderly from just such a theft. He fears it may happen again if the law is not changed.
Kincheloe, 66, entered an Alford plea to a charge of embezzlement in the case in Fairfax County last month. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction. Prosecutors say he stole at least $460,000, and he faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced this month.
James Love IV, Kincheloe’s attorney, said his client was wrongfully prosecuted and performed the work he was hired to do.
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Elderly Woman in VA Cheated Out of Savings by Lawyer She Trusted, Family Alleges