Elderly care facility owners arrested for exploitation

wingateOn February 1, 2013, the Sheriff’s Department was notified by Adult Protective Services that a 92-year-old female was being financially exploited by the owners of the care facility where she resided. The victim’s family thought something was wrong with her finances when they noticed the movement of money on her account.

Her family also discovered changes to the victim’s trust and that $150,000.00 had been gifted to Joseph Wingate, the owner of Wingate Adult Care Home. Concerned the victim was being exploited, her family made a report to Adult Protective Services, who referred the case to the Sheriff’s Department Financial Crimes Unit. Detectives from the Financial Crimes Unit investigated the incident and learned during the time period from July 2012 to February 2013, Joseph Wingate and his wife, Rebecca Wingate, financially exploited the victim.

Mr. Wingate was able to get Power of Attorney over the victim’s finances. With Power of Attorney, Mr. Wingate was able to put his name on the victim’s financial accounts and even changed her will. The Wingates went to Disneyland, bought a van, and began building a garage to house their new van as well as other items. The victim never gave Mr. Wingate permission to use her finances, have access to her trust, or allow him to change her will making his family the heirs.

The Wingates were arrested and charged with Theft From a Vulnerable Adult and Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices. The victim was moved to another adult care home where the Wingates cannot have contact with her. The Arizona Department of Health Services licenses adult care homes and is concerned about what happened. The Arizona Department of Health Services will investigate this incident and determine what actions will be taken against the facilities license.

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