BARRE — A Waitsfield man is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his elderly mother and leaving her in a filthy apartment.
Donald Wimble, 63, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to eight counts of felonious financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, felony grand larceny and neglect of a vulnerable adult, a misdemeanor. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum of 91˝ years in jail and a $95,000 fine.
Wimble is free without bail.
According to an affidavit by a detective with the state’s Office of Professional Regulation, Wimble stole $45,879.76 out of his mother’s retirement and credit union accounts over a six-year period, but it may have been as much as $350,000. Wimble is also accused of stealing $85,000 from his mother to purchase a 2008 Corvette.
The detective also outlines spending from 2003 to 2010 when Wimble allegedly used his mother’s money to purchase a Ford Edge, a 2009 Corvette, a Ford Equinox and a 2010 Camaro.
Wimble had been granted power of attorney for his mother in 2006, making him her agent in all legal and financial matters. His mother also added Wimble and his brother and sister as beneficiaries to various accounts she owned between 2006 and 2007. In July 2007, Wimble’s mother signed off on adding him as a joint owner of all the accounts and simultaneously removed his two siblings from the accounts.
Court records show multiple instances of Wimble transferring money out of his mother’s accounts directly into his own checking and money market accounts.
During a guardianship hearing in November 2011, a judge found that Wimble had drained his mother’s accounts, and Wimble acknowledged the total of $350,000 as the amount he took. The detective quotes Wimble as saying at the guardianship hearing that some of the spending was “probably not appropriate.”
Wimble’s brother, Owen Wimble Jr., requested the hearing and was granted guardianship of their mother in November. Owen Wimble and his mother sued Donald Wimble in December, and in January Judge Michael Kupersmith ordered the seizure of three of the vehicles Donald Wimble still owned that he had allegedly purchased with his mother’s money. The Washington County Sheriff’s Department seized the Equinox and the Edge. The Camaro was supposed to be seized as well, but Donald Wimble sold the car five days after guardianship transferred to Owen Wimble Jr.
The mother’s doctor told the detective that she had started to develop dementia in 2009.
That year, her doctor wanted a memory test done, but it was never scheduled, and the doctor said he did not see her again until 2011.
The detective said medical records show she had been seeing her doctor regularly until 2009.
Owen Wimble Jr. told the detective that he visited his mother’s apartment in September 2011. He stated it was filthy and it appeared his mother had not been bathed in a while.
Donald Wimble’s arraignment had been scheduled for mid-July, but it was postponed to last week because he had a heart attack.
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