A woman is facing 82 felony charges relating to embezzling money from an elder.
According to the Kern County Superior Court, Donna Crick, 61, was arraigned Friday afternoon on 82 counts of theft and embezzlement and one count of false imprisonment. The total loss is suspected to be about $500,000, police said.
Crick was arrested on Dec. 5 after it was reported that she had convinced 92-year-old Andy Anderson to give her money multiple times from 2013 to 2016 after the two had met at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace and developed a friendship.
Cameron Smith — a court-appointed conservator for Anderson, who suffers from dementia — said Crick had convinced Anderson to give her a total of $175,000 from his bank accounts. Smith said over the course of the three years, she would ask for money multiple times under false pretenses, such as saying she had family members in need.
Smith said that in 2016, she also convinced him to give her power of attorney, which gave her control over his will and trust, his life insurance policy and more. Smith said he believes she may have intimidated him into doing it but doesn’t know for sure.
“She basically completely took over his life,” he said. “There was no one to stop her, no one to question her, since Andy lives by himself.”
Smith said the embezzlement was discovered in 2016, when Anderson was taken to the hospital several times for heart-related problems. When his grandson came to see him, Smith said Anderson told him that he wanted to check his bank account balance.
When Anderson and his grandson went to check his accounts, they found them to be empty. Crick was immediately believed to be the one responsible, but he said it took years working with the Bakersfield Police Department to gather up enough evidence to justify an arrest. Police said Crick has no prior arrests.
“We believe she’s done this before and never been caught,” Smith said. “She knew too much on what she was doing. She’s a pro. For someone to do everything she did, she knew what she was doing.”
During the investigation, Smith said he learned that Crick had isolated Anderson by putting a security door in front of his front door, locking his garage and the side gates to the house as well as changing his mailbox to a locked mailbox that required a key.
Smith said he and Anderson’s grandchildren didn’t know about these conditions prior to 2016.
“Every time someone wanted to visit him, he would say he wasn’t going to be home or he would want to meet elsewhere,” he said.
Although Smith said he wishes the embezzlement was found sooner, he is happy that Crick has been arrested and is facing years in prison.
“We’re ecstatic that there’s finally going to be justice done,” he said. “The Bakersfield Police Department and District Attorney’s Office have been very helpful in bringing this to a lawful conclusion.”
Crick is due back in court on Dec. 19 for a pre-preliminary hearing.