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Rip-Off Alert: Elderly victim gives away power of attorney

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 5/02/2013 7:04 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- This Rip-Off Alert is a cautionary tale for anyone who has elderly loved ones who live on their own. While we all know that the elderly are prime targets for con artists, this victim is on the verge of losing everything.

Jackie Keller-Smith is trying to help her 88-year-old aunt, Agnes Dismuke, save her home from foreclosure after a con artist stole it right out from under her.

"He said if you let me stay, I will give you $50 a week, I think he said,” Dismuke said. “He didn't give me nothing.”

Larry Bradshaw convinced Dismuke to give him her power of attorney, according to postal inspectors.

"He used the power of attorney to obtain credit cards, loans and for his own personal gain," said U.S. Postal Inspector Don Washington.

In fact, postal inspectors say Bradshaw refinanced Dismuke’s home with a reverse mortgage, made off with $51,000, and she never saw a dime.

"He didn't see any husband here, and he just took advantage of me," Dismuke said.

She was unaware any of this was happening. Now Dismuke is in jeopardy of losing her home, which is in foreclosure.

"This is despicable. She has been here all of her life," Keller-Smith said.

Postal inspectors say this is an important warning for elderly living alone.

"If at all possible, get help from close friends or family especially before making financial transactions, especially with people you don't know,” Washington said.

Officials halted plans to evict Dismuke, but the possibility of her being forced out of her home is still a reality as courts, banks and law enforcement try to reconcile all of the issues.

Bradshaw was arrested in March on wire fraud charges but has been released pending trial.
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