Arizona Attorney General

Mark Brnovich

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State v. Kristella Brandenburg

The defendant was convicted in March, 2012 after a jury trial on charges related to financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. The victims were a vulnerable, elderly couple. At the time of the offense, the husband was 86 and suffered from dementia and the wife was 88. The State alleged that the Defendant, while ostensibly “assisting” her vulnerable elderly neighbors with some paperwork related to their long-term care insurance, instead paid two of her bills over the phone and purchased three lap tops from Best Buy with the victims’ credit card. Unfortunately, as it happens so often in elder financial exploitation cases, the wife passed away while the case was pending and the husband was unavailable as a witness as he had no recollection of the events. At trial, with no victims available to contradict her, the defendant testified that she had permission of the victims to use their credit card to pay her personal bills and that the three laptops were gifts from the victims. Despite the evidentiary obstacles, the jury returned a guilty verdict on Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, a Class 2 felony and the judge sentenced her to four years probation, 30 days in jail and 1,000 hours of community service. Her nursing license also was revoked.