CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) - Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt has announced a prison sentence for a 27-year-old Reno man for exploitation of an older person.
Yohannes Habtemicael is sentenced for the category “B” felony for converting funds entrusted to him as his father’s guardian for personal use. The fraudulent acts were committed between August 2014 and November 2015.
Laxalt's office says in 2014, Habtemicael was appointed as the permanent guardian of his 67-year-old father Tewolde Habtemicael and his estate, after it was determined that Tewolde Habtemicael was unable to care for himself. As a guardian, his son was entrusted with funds for the limited purpose of providing for his father’s care. But he converted more than $88,000 of his father’s funds for his own personal use.
District Court Judge Jerome Polaha sentenced Habtemicael to 24-120 months in prison, and ordered him to pay full restitution in the amount of $88,414.65.
“Financial exploitation can take many forms, and commonly involves trusted persons of a vulnerable adult,” said Laxalt. “This sentencing sends a message that abuses committed against our elderly will not be tolerated and will be aggressively pursued and prosecuted. I am proud of how effective my Elder Abuse Section of the Financial Fraud Unit has been in responding to a statewide increase in financial fraud and guardianship exploitation.”
In July, 2016, the Nevada Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee unanimously approved Laxalt’s request to combat increasing financial fraud within the State using non-taxpayer settlement funds obtained by his office. Laxalt’s request included the allocation of approximately $400,000 of non-taxpayer settlement funds to the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada in order to boost their capacity to fight civil guardianship exploitation and abuse. In the attorney general’s new budget, the Legislature re-authorized the financial fraud positions, as well as additional funding for Washoe Legal Services to combat elder exploitation in Northern Nevada counties. Although the Office of the Nevada Attorney General does not have primary jurisdiction over guardianship matters, the Office will continue to prosecute meritorious cases from District Attorney Offices who either refer or decline prosecution.
If you have information regarding a suspected instance of fraud, you can file a complaint here.