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Genesee County sheriff Robert Pickell said that attorney Joseph Baessler has been arraigned on one felony count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult.
This comes after Pickell claims Baessler took money to pay for business and personal expenses.
"Well it's always despicable when someone takes advantage of elderly person," Pickell said.
But Pickell said that's exactly what a Burton-area lawyer did to a client when he was entrusted to protect her.
Pickell said that Baessler was appointed conservator to a 64-year-old woman in 1984 after a car accident left her incapacitated. She received a closed-head injury so severe she still requires 24/7 care, according to the sheriff.
"Rather than helping her and being a support person, he turned out to be a monster," Pickell said.
Pickell said the Elder Abuse Task Force found that while acting as the victim’s fiduciary, Baessler billed for time and services he did not perform in the amount of $87,962.27 dating back to 2010.
Further investigation revealed Baessler used the victim’s money “to pay his legal secretary and make payments on his mortgage and condominium fees. The victim’s money was also used to pay for various personal expenses,” Pickell alleged.
Pickell said the probate court got suspicious and had an audit performed on Baessler. Their findings led to the attorney's arrest.
If convicted, Baessler could serve up to 15-years behind bars, and be forced to pay damages up to three times the amount stolen.
Baessler was arraigned in court on Tuesday, April 9 and is free on bond. He is due back in court later this month.
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Sheriff: Local attorney accused of embezzling from vulnerable adult