WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A disbarred Wichita attorney was sentenced Friday morning after he pleaded guilty to swindling an elderly client.
Larry Toomey was sentenced to 2 years of probation for stealing $961,897.25 from a 104-year-old client with dementia. If he breaks probation he can see up to 26 months behind bars.
Family members of the victim were present at the sentencing. They say they were originally heartbroken by the news.
“It was so sad. We cried a lot of tears and have been very hurt about it,” said Christine Kate, victim’s sister-in-law.
Now the family is using the situation as a chance to advocate against elderly abuse. “You can put too much trust in just one person and we put all of our trust in him,” said Kate.
Karen Raider, niece of the victim, along with two others read letters in court asking for justice. “She needed a voice today and so we came as a voice for them,” said Raider.
The family wants to prevent this from happening to anyone else. “They have to have help and you should be there for them and especially put safe guards. Safe guards in your funds,” said Raider.
The 18th District Attorney’s office says elderly abuse cases of theft and fraud are more common than you might think.
“We’re getting referrals on almost a weekly basis looking into elderly folks and their finances. What we’re seeing is as our demographics,” said Robert Short, Chief of Economics Crimes Unit.
Short says their biggest threat is not from phone scammers or door-to-door knockers. Instead, it’s from someone the elders know.
“That’s what we’re seeing a lot of is people who have been put in this position of trust violating that trust by self-dealing and conflicts of interest and sometimes just out right stealing,” said Short.
He says these cases are often preventable by choosing the right person to manage elderly funds. As well as protecting private information like debit cards and check books for elder’s who are in the care of a hospital or home.