Salisbury Woman Convicted of Exploiting Vulnerable Adult - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury Woman Convicted of Exploiting Vulnerable Adult

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Kathleen Mae Littleton Kathleen Mae Littleton

SALISBURY, Md.- A Salisbury woman will spend two months in jail after being convicted in Wicomico County Circuit Court on Tuesday of felony financial exploitation of an elderly woman under her care.

During the trial of 68-year-old Kathleen Mae Littleton, the state presented evidence that she had used her influence as a caretaker for the victim's daughter to influence the victim, who was 88 years of age at the time and unable to care for her daily needs, into appointing Littleton as her power of attorney and to name Littleton in the victim's will.

Court documents show that a variety of sitters who had worked for the victim made statements to Detective Jen Barnes of the Salisbury Police Department of threats made by Littleton to the victim that if the victim did not do as Littleton requested, Littleton would put the victim in a nursing home. 

Witnesses told police that Littleton began firing sitters whom she believed were getting emotionally too close with the victim and once fired would not permit them to have any contact with the victim, not even by telephone. The victim's own daughter was not permitted to have unsupervised contact with the victim, court records showed. Witnesses also indicated that the victim was not permitted to make telephone calls without first getting approval from Littleton.  One sitter was fired, she told police, because she had taken the victim for medical care without first getting approval from Littleton.  Another sitter was fired for taking the victim to watch baseball games as an outing for the victim, according to court documents.

In court, prosecutors presented financial records from the victim's bank accounts and investment funds to show the alleged depletion of the victim's assets. Prosecutors said that on Oct. 31, 2010, the balance in the victim's investment fund was $99,464.57.  By Dec. 31, 2011, prosecutors said the portfolio had dwindled to 9 cents. The state conceded that some of this money was legitimately used to pay the sitters hired to look after the victim, but offered figures showing expenditures of sums of money it alleged were not connected with the care of the victim.

On March 21, 2010, the victim was taken from her home by ambulance and died at Peninsula Regional Medical Center. Prosecutors said an estate was opened with the Wicomico County Register of Wills.  A will was submitted for probate leaving one fourth of the victim's estate to the defendant, according to prosecutors, who said that ultimately $26,999.69 was distributed to Littleton from the estate.

At the time of sentencing, Circuit Court Judge Leah A. Seaton described the offense as "a crime of greed."  Seaton stated that in addition to the actual crime committed, she was especially concerned that the defendant had taken the victim's dignity in her final years.

Littleton, a licensed CNA, was sentenced to 10 years incarceration with all but 60 days suspended.  Following her release from jail, Littleton defendant will be on probation for three years during which time she must pay restitution of $26,999 to the victim's daughter. 

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