YPSILANTI, Mich. – An Ypsilanti man made 288 ATM withdrawals to embezzle $140,000 from an elderly man’s bank account, and then had the victim’s will changed right before his death so the suspect would be entitled to his estate, officials said.
Calium Turnage, 59, of Ypsilanti, is accused of depositing monthly checks of between $3,000 and $4,000 from a 91-year-old Ypsilanti man between July 2016 and December 2017. Officials said Turnage had been driving the man around and performing odd jobs for him.
During that time, about $30,000 in checks were paid to Turnage, according to authorities.
Turnage also made 288 ATM withdrawals from the victim’s account worth a total of $142,000, police said.
The elderly man was eventually found to be incompetent, but two weeks before the man died, Turnage became entitled to the majority o his $600,000 estate, officials said. Turnage submitted a request, allegedly on behalf of the man, to remove the victim’s longtime girlfriend and name himself the primary beneficiary of the estate, according to authorities.
That issue was disputed and settled in a civil court, federal officials said.
Charges were filed against Turnage in December 2020. He pleaded guilty Monday to one count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult over $100,000, which is a 20-year penalty, authorities said.
As part of the plea deal, three charges were dropped: one count of embezzlement by an agent or trustee between $20,000 and $50,000 and two counts of failure to file taxes.
Turnage is required to pay $140,000 in restitution, per the plea deal.
“The evidence clearly demonstrates that the defendant personally benefited from the victim’s vulnerable position, and in doing so violated Michigan law,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “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.”