A Holladay man was sentenced in 3rd District Court Friday to one year in jail for stealing $237,000 from his blind mother who had entrusted him to help with her finances. He also was ordered to pay restitution.
Grant Keith Aagard, 51, pled guilty to one third-degree felony count of abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult and three third-degree felony counts of theft by deception.
Utah Assistant Attorney General Robert Steed prosecuted the case following an investigation by the Utah Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, a specialized task force within the Attorney General's Office. The Aagard case is one of several recently handled by the unit that involved family members defrauding their parents. Steed said these kinds of crimes are particularly cold-blooded.
"It is one of the most reprehensible acts of greed and abuse of trust imaginable," Steed said. "It is a tragic breach of family trust to satisfy your own greed by exploiting a vulnerable relative."
Prosecutors said Aagard began stealing from his mother, Leola Fagan, in 1997, using forged letters to an insurance company. The forgeries allowed him access to more than $80,000 in the woman's retirement account. In 2002, Aagard took over Fagan's financial affairs and began using her checking account for personal use and, in 2004, convinced his mother to take out a reverse-mortgage on her home to pay medical bills. Prosecutors said that the bills were paid but most of the money was kept by Aagard. Additional incidents cited in the case include allegations that Aagard kept his mother's tax returns and pawned some of her jewelry.
Steed said the office seeks to punish the offenders in these kinds of cases through aggressive prosecution while also trying to recoup as much restitution as possible to help victims.
"These elderly victims have saved over their lifetimes so that they have the money necessary to care for themselves," Steed said. "We will do everything we can to stop these crimes."