Family calls $25,000 bracelet purchase mistake

Bracelet bought for $20 is actually worth $25,000

By Ruth Spencer - Anchor

CHELSEA, Mich. - It's common for children of elderly parents to eventually have to make the decision as to when and how to take over their parents finances.

Maury and Helen Branch's children say they recently had help in making that decision. Their daughter, Carol, says her 90-year-old father stopped at La Jolla Jeweler in Chelsea looking for a watch battery and left the store with a bracelet valued at more than $25,000.

"He said, 'Yeah, I went down there to get a battery replacement and I got your Mom a pretty rhinestone bracelet for $20,'" Carol said.

The problem is that bracelet was made of real diamonds. Carol and her brother told the store owner their father never intended to spend that much money.

Maury, up north for the summer, told Ruth to the Rescue the same thing over the phone.

"I thought it was a rhinestone bracelet," he said.

Store owner refutes daughter's claim

Store owner Curtis Gough says Mr. Branch was a customer for years and knew his store doesn't sell rhinestones, and he believes Mr. Brach wanted to spend that money. Gough says, "Everybody was trying to help him and he selected an item we had in the store and it was $25,000. So, he was happy, everybody was happy."

The Branch family shared medical documents with us that showed concerns about Maury's cognitive abilities, even before he bought the bracelet. Gough says he saw no evidence of that at the time of purchase. During an appeal, the credit card company sided with the store.

Gough says he thinks something else is going on here, he told Ruth to the Rescue, "Sometimes kids do abuse their parents and I think they're getting abused."

Carol denies the accusation and says she is only looking to protect her parents.

There have been offers and counter offers to resolve the situation since January, but Carol feels her Father is being victimized and urges other families to keep an eye on their elderly parents finances.

She warned, "Just start earlier before later, before something happens where you have to get involved."

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