LANSING, Mich - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that the man accused of embezzling money from an elderly widow has been sentenced.
Gary "Duke" Haynes of Comstock Park was sentenced last week for conducting a criminal enterprise and embezzling from a vulnerable adult by Judge Annette Smedley in Muskegon County Circuit Court.
Haynes was charged in May 2018 with 14 felony counts after stealing more than $300,000 from his elderly widowed client and was convicted of the following:
- One felony count of conducting a criminal enterprise, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or $100,000
- One felony count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult of $100,000 or more, punishable by up to 20 years and/or $50,000
- Eight felony counts of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult $1,000-$20,000, punishable by up to five years and/or $10,000
- Four felony counts of Taxes-Failure to File/False Return, punishable by up to five years and/or $5,000
Haynes was sentenced to 90 months to 20 years in prison on the charges of conducting a criminal enterprise and embezzlement. He was also sentenced to 30 months to five years in prison on the additional 12 counts, to be served concurrently.
Haynes met the woman when she was 85 years old and was given access to her computer, financial accounts and passwords. Haynes had access to the victim's money for more than 10 years and used his relationship of trust with the victim to influence her financial decisions. He also took money from her accounts and used it to benefit himself and his companies, Senior Planning Resource and Future by Design.
Over the course of four years, Haynes transferred more than $300,000 from the victim's accounts to accounts belonging to his two companies. In addition, Haynes' tax returns filed with the Michigan Department of Treasury did not accurately reflect the amount he took from the victim.
In 2016, the victim asked Haynes about money he was to invest in an annuity in her name. She became suspicious and asked her nephew to intervene. Her nephew reported the information to the local police department. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing Bureau also received information regarding the case and promptly referred to the Department of Attorney General's Elder Financial Crimes Unit – a unit created to partner with county prosecutors and law enforcement to investigate and prosecute financial exploitation of elder and vulnerable adults.
"Exploiting the elderly is shameful and cowardly," Nessel added. "I am thankful for the partnership between our department, the Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office and the Michigan Department of Treasury in investigating this case and bringing it to swift and decisive action."
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