Ypsilanti man pleads guilty to embezzling more than $100K from 91-year-old man

Officials say $30K in checks were written from victim’s account, more than $140K taken through ATM transactions

LANSING, Mich. – An Ypsilanti man has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $100,000 from a 91-year-old man, according to the Michigan Attorney General’s office.

Officials said 59-year-old Calium Turnage pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement of a vulnerable adult over $100,000, which is a 20-year felony. As part of a deal, Turnage is ordered to pay $140,000 in restitution and additional charges were dropped.

“The evidence clearly demonstrates that the defendant personally benefited from the victim’s vulnerable position, and in doing so violated Michigan law,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel. “Our elder populations are particularly susceptible to financial exploitations and we in law enforcement must remain vigilant and prepared to hold bad actors accountable for such transgressions.”

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The AG’s office said that between July 2016 and December 2017, checks between $3,000 and $4,000 were written monthly to Turnage from the elderly man’s checking account. About $30,000 in checks were paid in that time frame. Additionally, 288 ATM transactions were made from the victim’s accounts by Turnage.

Turnage has been driving the 91-year-old man to various places and completing tasks for him.

Officials said the elderly man was “found to be incompetent, and two weeks before he died, Turnage became entitled to the majority of the man’s $600,000 estate after he submitted a request, allegedly on behalf of the victim, to remove the victim’s longtime girlfriend and name himself as primary beneficiary of the estate.”

The issue was disputed in a civil lawsuit and charges were initially filed against Turnage in December 2020.

Officials said after a plea deal, authorities dropped one count of embezzlement by an agent or trustee between $20,000 and $50,0000, a 10-year felony, and two counts of failure to file taxes, a five-year felony.

Turnage is scheduled for a sentencing hearing in April.

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About the Author:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.