A woman who gained the trust of a a 93-year-old Bakersfield man who suffers from dementia, and then proceeded to drain his savings and retirement accounts, was sentenced to five years in state prison Monday, according to the Kern County Superior Court website.
Donna Crick, 61, had faced 81 separate counts of theft or embezzlement of an elder adult by a non-caretaker, as well as one count of false imprisonment of an elder or dependent, but she pleaded no contest last month to all but one count in a plea deal with prosecutors.
Cameron Smith, a court-appointed conservator for the victim, Andy Anderson, said he's glad Crick is being punished, but said Anderson remains "financially upside down."
By the time Smith and the law caught up to Crick, she had convinced Anderson to give her $175,000 from his bank accounts. 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.
In 2016, Crick convinced Anderson to give her power of attorney, which gave her control over his will and trust, his life insurance policy and more.
"We have documentation on $208,000 that she took, but that doesn't include the cash," Smith said.
Smith has seen it before. The first step is establishing trust.
"Then you isolate them, separating them from family and friends," he said. "You make them believe the family and friends are bad and you're the only good person in their life."
Although he's seen better days, Anderson remains a legend at Alta Sierra Ski Resort in Kern County.
The longtime Bakersfield resident was skiing — and teaching people how to ski — at Kern County's only alpine resort for more than five decades. He was a ski instructor at Shirley Meadows almost as long as the Greenhorn Mountain ski resort has been in existence, but it's his ability to teach youngsters that won the admiration of countless parents over the years.
Anderson grew up near Bass Lake in the days when skis were made of wood and the brave of heart simply slipped their boots into leather toe straps and prayed before pointing their skis downhill.
"I didn't have ski runs in those days," he told The Californian in 2005. "I would ski through the trees. I always liked the trees."
Even as he was into his 80s the slender athlete still liked to slip over the western or eastern edge of the main run at Alta Sierra to dance downhill between trees and boulders on snow no one else has touched.
"That's the ultimate," he says. "When you look down the slope and there's no tracks. It's all yours."