Update: Disabled man says he was cheated out of his insurance settlement
UPDATE 9/8/16 – We have new details tonight involving an Oklahoma disabled man badly injured in a bicycle accident last year.
John Hayes received a large insurance settlement, money that was supposed to help John with living expenses and his retirement.
Prosecutors say that money is gone now!
They’ve charged Ronnie Taylor with the crime.
It’s alleged he used bogus catering business to steal tens of thousands of dollars from John Hayes.
For months Taylor’s been ducking us and our questions.
Investigators say they have proof large wads of cash were withdrawn from John’s account dozens of times over a short period.
Taylor says he has no idea what happened to John’s cash.
“Absolutely I gave him rides everywhere, [the] grocery store, karate, back and forth everywhere,” Taylor said. “We went to the bank a good amount. He’d give me twenty bucks for gas money every now and then.”
Taylor says he and John only briefly discussed going into business together, but nothing more.
“Straight up I never got any money from John,” he said. “I didn’t get any big sums of money from John. John was my friend. I would never take advantage.”
Thursday Taylor’s hearing was delayed again because he showed up to court without an attorney claiming he didn’t know how the legal process worked.
We’ll keep you posted on the case.
Update 8/26/16: Thursday we introduced you to John Hayes.
John was born with birth defects.
Investigators say he was taken advantage of by someone he met through work.
It is alleged Ronnie Taylor tricked him into investing close to $30,000 in a catering business that never existed.
He rides his bike everywhere and we knew it was really banged up from an accident last year.
So we found him a new one and Thursday we staged a fake interview to surprise him.
For weeks we've been conspiring with Steve Schlegel and Schlegel Bicycles to find john the perfect bike, something similar to his old one, but brand new with a rear blinking light, lock and new helmet to keep John safe.
“Wow! Not exactly what I was expecting,” he said.
John needs some cheering up.
After his accident he received a large settlement check.
Court records show Ronnie Taylor spent months driving john to the ATM To withdrawal the cash.
We convinced John and his friend, Tim Herbal, to go to police.
“Obviously knowing that he was charged and arrested has given us a lot of hope,” Tim said.
John’s been taken advantage of his whole life.
“He didn't expect anything,” Schlegel said. “You like helping people who don't expect it.”
We can't get John's money back, but we can do something nice for him.
John said, “I am very thankful.”
OKLA. CITY - John Hayes was born with severe birth defects and raised in an alcoholic household.
He keeps getting knocked down, literally.
“I broke my lower back, one broken bone, one ruptured disc,” he said.
Those injuries are from a bicycle accident last year and because of that crash John got a large insurance settlement.
The money was supposed to sustain him for years, but now it's gone.
John says a guy he met through work, Ronnie Taylor, tricked him into investing his entire savings, about $30,000 in a fake catering business.
Taylor occasionally gave John a lift home.
It was during one of those rides John says they stopped by his bank to use the ATM.
“Instead of checking, he hit savings inquiry, but instead of handing it to me, he reads the information and that's how he finds out there's anything at all,” John said.
John's true friend, Tim Herbel, believes Taylor saw dollar signs at that ATM.
“I don't know if he intended that when he first met john,” he said. “I doubt it because he didn't know John had that money, but once he did discover John had that money he took advantage of someone who had been taken advantage of his whole life.”
Edmond Police and prosecutors came to the same conclusion and charged Taylor with exploitation of a disabled person.
Bank records show large sums of cash withdrawn from John's account 31 times over a two month period from the Bank of Oklahoma branch at East 15th and Bryant in Edmond.
There is video of John and Taylor together at the bank withdrawing money from the ATM.
We asked to see it.
Right now police and prosecutors say they won't release it to us until after Taylor is charged and court proceedings are underway.
“Ronnie has made no attempt to contact us nor to make amends to john for the money that is unaccounted for,” Tim said.
The In Your Corner team's been looking for Ronnie Taylor for months.
We know he customizes and restores cars for a living.
We stopped by his Northwest Oklahoma City home.
A family member answered the door, but told us Taylor was inside hiding and didn't want to come out to talk to us.
The In Your Corner bottom line is John's savings is wiped out and no one can tell us where his money went.
There's no evidence the catering company ever existed.
No one's been able to show us a business plan, receipts, or written agreement.
The most heartbreaking part is the insurance money was supposed to help john with food, housing and living expenses, and his retirement.
Tim said, “A guy that his whole life has been abused or neglected and you came into his life to take care of him and now you're taking everything he's got.
There is still no word from Taylor.
He's pleaded not guilty to the crime.
His next hearing is scheduled for two weeks from now.