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WJBD - Local News - Centralia Man Charged With Financial Exploitation of the Elderly

Centralia Man Charged With Financial Exploitation of the Elderly

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

A 45-year-old Centralia man has been arrested for financial exploitation of the elderly.  

James Downes of West Kerr is accused of taking $53,000 over a six month period of time by writing 76 checks for his own benefit on the account of a 76-year-old rural Walnut Hill woman.  Downes served as the woman's medical caretaker and handyman for her rental properties.  

Marion County Sheriff's Department Investigator Anthony Decker says the case was brought to his attention when the woman's son had completed a review of her financial account.  He had become suspicious when bank statements had stopped coming to the woman's home.   

Decker says Downes had allegedly written some of the checks to cash and others to a third party who then cashed them.  Decker reports surveillance video has been obtained of some of the transactions made by Downes.   

Decker reports the $53,000 was a large part of the woman's savings, but she still has some money remaining.   All the money was reportedly spent and has not been recovered.   

A warrant had been issued for Downes arrest and he was arrested at his home by Centralia Police Tuesday night.   Bond on the warrant is set at $50,000.

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