OKLAHOMA CITY - 62-year-old Linda Mull was arrested Thursday night on charges of financial exploitation to the elderly. And her victim was her 89-year-old mother who suffers from memory loss and dementia.
“They always appeared to live within their means; she would have her garage sales just like everybody else,” said Linda Fyer.
Fryer has lived at her home next door to Mull and her mother for seven years. She's in shock that Mull may have allegedly exploited more than $500,000 from her neighbor.
“It's a shock and a sadness,” Fryer said. “In today's time to care for our aging parents, we don't realized there's an appropriate way to handle finances,” she said.
Records shows Mull took over her mother's finances back in 2009, giving her full access to her mother's bankcards which she used at various restaurants and department stores.
“This investigation actually started last year when the son of the victim called investigators. And basically advised them that he thought his sister was taking advantage of their elderly mother,” said Oklahoma City Police Officer Megan Morgan.
An affidavit shows Mull:
- Made nearly $11,000 worth of withdrawals at various ATMs
- Would go to different bank locations where she took out more than $37,000
- Made her mother sign a check to herself for $75,000 to pay her own mortgage
- Paid off her car
Her brother told DHS and police this all didn't happen overnight.
“Over a span of seven years from the mother, taking advantage of the state of his elderly mother was in,” Morgan said.
Fryer says she just feels for the victim, “It's just really sad to hear that something like that occurred.”
Mull posted bond and was released from jail.
There are signs of financial exploitation to look out for:
- Is the victim isolated from family friends?
- Is there a new person on the scene?
- Is there a sudden change in banking practices such as unexplained withdrawals?
- Have names been added to bank signature cards?
- Has care been offered to the victim in exchange for property or access to bank accounts?
If you believe an elderly person is being financially exploited, call your local DHS office.