Ottawa County elderly abuse case file sent to attorney

Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan has yet to make up his mind on a possible $200,000 theft from the elderly case. But that’s not to say he hasn’t done anything. In an unorthodox pre-trial, pre-charges move, Mulligan sent a letter and all his evidence to the suspect’s attorney last week.
Emil Whitis
Mar 3, 2013

 

Mulligan refused to talk about his strategy on the record, but Wisehart confirmed he received a letter and a thick case file from the prosecutor.

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“I’m going to review it over the weekend,” Wisehart said. “He wants to hear our side of the story.”

The controversy stems from a $200,000 debt accrued by a 62-year-old Marblehead jewelry shop owner over a period of two years. The funds came either directly from Shaeffer’s bank account or from credit cards in Shaeffer’s name.

The shop owner used Shaeffer’s cash and credit to buy jewelry, run her store and furnish her daughter’s apartment and to make “numerous day-to-day purchases including meals, utility payments, gasoline and clothing,” according to Danbury Township police Detective Mark Meisler’s investigative report.

Shaeffer’s family called it theft from the elderly. That’s what Meisler called it, too.

Wisehart maintains it was a business loan.

Shaeffer had known the shop owner for years, but it wasn’t until Shaeffer’s husband died that the owner put her hand out.

Court records show at about that time, the shop owner was being sued in civil court by four banks and two businesses. After a few initial five-figure checks, Shaeffer let the shop owner open at least one credit card in her name, according to the police report.

In December, after not receiving even a single payment on the principal, Shaeffer entered the jewelry store and took back the jewelry her money had bought. She was acting on advice from her attorney.

“(My client) had every intent to repay the loan,” Wisehart said. “What was criminal was (Shaeffer) coming into my client’s store and taking all her inventor y. I’d like Mr. Mulligan to look into that.”

With no inventory, the store soon tanked.

Shaeffer’s relatives spent more than 700 hours on forensic accounting. In the end, they plopped an inchthick report on Mulligan’s desk.

Now, Mulligan wants to hear the shop owner’s side.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, meanwhile, is actively campaigning for prosecution of financial crimes against the elderly. He helped write the bill that recently passed into l aw , called the Elder Justice Act.

“In the past, theft from the elderly cases were always handled civilly,” DeWine said in an interview Tuesday. “(The Elder Justice Act) seeks to recognize that the elderly can be abused not only physically but financially as well.”

He said the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has a wealth of resources, i n c l u d i ng f o re n s i c accountants, to support local prosecutors in theft from the elderly cases.

“If they ask us, we will try to help them in any way we can,” DeWine said.

Wisehart said he plans to respond to Mulligan’s letter by Friday.

Three other Marblehead residents have lodged theft complaints against the owner, according to a Danbury Township police report.

A sign now hangs in the abandoned jewelry store: “Life sometimes takes unexpected twists and turns,” it reads. “Bad things happen to good people.”

 It’s signed by the shop owner.

Comments

SamAdams

"Unorthodox?" A better word might be "illegal!" While I'm not a lawyer and can't say with certainty that giving over the evidence at this stage of the game is a crime according to statute, it sure borders on that by pretty much every other definition!

Way to go, Mr. Mulligan. You've now given the accused time to flee out of state, her attorney far more time than the law requires to play with semantics as well as come up with who knows what kind of plausible stories (doubtless aided and abetted by his client), and more.

You've got multiple people claiming to have been victimized by this former jewelry store owner. There is, by Mr. Mulligan's own admission, a thick case file already prepared by the police. And yet his sole action to date is to hand everything over to the attorney for the accused (unless you also count his refusal to comment on story as some kind of "action").

Here's a question Mr. Mulligan will ALSO probably refuse to dignify with a response: When, exactly, can these victims expect justice? Or are you joining with the accused to victimize them still further? Well???

DickTracey

This would be the same prosecutor that had 55 counts on a female Port Clinton high school coach and not one of them stuck. The jury was out less than four hours and the coach walked. Maybe he's just gun shy (embarassed or scared) now to take on another high profile case.

Mulligan is an elected official (democrat) living in a county with more democrats than republicans. That does not make him hard working, qualified, dedicated or good at what he does, it just means majority rules.

In this case, his boss, Mike DeWine had an agenda to protect seniors from financial exploitation, so much so he created a law and tougher penalties. Apparently Ottawa County didn't get that memo!!

Julie R.

Ottawa County isn't the only one. You can bet if corrupt Erie County got the memo they got a good laugh before throwing it in the trash, too.

Centauri

"Mulligan refused to talk about his strategy on the record, but Wisehart confirmed he received a letter and a thick case file from the prosecutor."

Here is another who "refuses to talk" about his conduct. I have heard of prosecutors withholding evidence from defense attorneys after charges are filed. I have also heard of prosecutors that help the powers that be by giving up all evidence to defense attorneys before charges are filed.

Compare this case to cases where caregivers are given POA to bank funds to legally take out money for ederly care and supplies and then get charged and thrown into prison.

This is the same prosecutor who let a sheriff use public funds for personal use and brought forth no charges. The sheriff got a free pass.

margaritaville88

Any second now..tic..tic..for you know who to chime in !!!

Perkahontas

I love how "forensic" gets attached to every job these days. What makes amateurs looking into financial records "forensic accounting"?

Julie R.

Gee, I'll bet corrupt Erie County's sneaky attorney friends ~ not to mention the financial institutions ~ aren't going to like that new law that just went into effect --- the one that calls for the criminal prosecution of financial crimes against the elderly.

I think I'm going to write DeWine and give him some heads up (with proof) on the ones who are behind those crimes.

Truth Be Told....

Questions: Any of you ever been sued before?? Do you have any idea just how many trees die in the process of ONE lawsuit from beginning to end?? Its disappointing really,especially when everything's tripled spaced and indented so wording starts at the center of the page. It may look thick Mr Wisehart, but I'm pretty sure you can handle it. If not, ask your clients for their help maybe they could take a load off your shoulders.I mean heck, they didn't have any problems taking loads of money from an elderly person so it wouldn't hurt to ask. One favor though, please go easy on your paper usage, your clients aren't worth the wasted paper that goes into lawsuits. Thanks!

reporter54

what is accountanting? and who said they were amateurs? as usual, all of you are making assumptions about procedures you know nothing about. if this woman is guilty of something, it will all be found in the records and she and her attorney do have the right to be informed of the charges and shown the evidence. I'm not insinuating that there is no corruption in Ottawa County, but it is always more prudent to wait until the facts are in before assuming the worst.

Perkahontas

It's accounting done by amateurs. LOL.

Did you read the article? If her relatives are trained accountants or investigators it wasn't mentioned.

In any case it's a dig at the reporter, not the possible victim.

The governed

“I’m going to review it over the weekend,” Wisehart said. “He wants to hear our side of the story.”

I thought the court of law is where the victim and the accused are to explain both sides of the story.
Mr mulligan deserves a raise lately given that he considers himself both judge and prosecutor.
Btw, he just recently botched a case where a 52 y.o. Man got away with raping a 9 y.o. Didn't read about that one though.

DickTracey

I think I figured out his strategy, Mulligan is stalling so that the "shop owner" has ample time to exploit another senior so she can pay for Wisehart's retainer!

Julie R.

Wisehart also said that the only reason the elderly lady's family members are complaining is because they don't want to lose out on their inheritance.

Typical stupid remark coming from an attorney. What I would like to see --- try bilking an elderly Murray or any other non-average elderly citizen out of $200K and see what happens. You can bet Wisehart would never make that comment about their family members.

Julie R.

Isn't this Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan one of the clowns that was involved in the Erie/Ottawa/Cuyahoga County case to shut Elsebeth Baumgartner up?

Centauri

That is the same Mark Mulligan. Elsebeth Baumgartner once ran against Mulligan for Ottawa County Prosecutor. And you know what is the rest of the story. Those who run against the powers that be ....__________ (fill in the blanks).

Centauri

http://www.portclintonnewsherald...
"According to Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office reports, a grand jury meeting Feb. 26 could decide whether a Catawba woman, and possibly another person, face charges after they were accused by family members of an 81-year-old widow of ripping off hundreds of thousands of dollars over a two-year period.

By December 2012, the records indicate more than $190,000 had been given to the woman through the use of credit cards, checks and other means.

According to Northern District of Ohio U.S. Bankruptcy Court records, the businesswoman declared bankruptcy in March 2011, even though she began borrowing money from the widow the month before.

The lengthy report and accompanying financial records provided to Mulligan indicate the businesswoman’s husband received $30,000 from the victim in order to keep the couple’s home from being foreclosed upon.

But only $3,000 went to the bank, the report claims, and the rest went to purchase a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

But beyond the local legal troubles, according to Mulligan, information in the reports generated by family members and Danbury Township police reports points to the possibility of federal crimes, possibly including fraud relating to the bankruptcy and income tax issues."

Mulligan doesn't fool me. What about the laws of Ohio? I feel that another fix is in the works.

Centauri

Attorney Buff was really stupid to grant Oliver Hardy permission to post Buff's information online. Even pictures. Buff gave permission to all readers to post Buff's information. Not only Buff's personal information but all of Buff's emails. Buff is a real simpleton or dumb*ss for short. If I were Buff, I would move across the oceans and hope for the best.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ano...(group)

Centauri
Centauri

Hello attorney Buff,

You should never had called me a "dwarf star" which I take offense to.

Come out attorney Buff and maybe I can help you. I can help you Buff.

Send to me a PM. I can help you. Last call to you Buff.

After my last call Buff, you are on your own. I pity you Buff.

Julie R.

If DeWine wants to stop crimes against the elderly he best be investigating attorneys and financial institutions in corrupt Erie County. They aren't just criminally defrauding the elderly, forgery, theft, not to mention causing serious defects in the titles to their properties, the dirt-bags also are assisting in Medicaid fraud.

I think I'll send DeWine that forged will that was filed in the Erie County probate court two years after my mother's death and tell him to compare it to the forged one that was filed with Medicaid.

Julie R.

Corrupt Erie County and their attorney friends ~ especially the ones from Lorain County ~ sure know how to conceal CRIMES AGAINST THE ELDERLY, FRAUD & THEFT OF ASSETS, not to mention MEDICAID FRAUD, in the Erie County Probate Court.