Ringleader of group accused of bilking vulnerable St. George woman out of $264K arrested in California

Frank Gene Powell (center) is wanted in connection with an exploitation case in St. George. Arrested in the case are (left, top to bottom) Terrence Powell, Martell Powell, and (right, top to bottom) Faye A. Renteria and Rocky J. Mott. Photos: Utah Department of Corrections; Utah County

ST. GEORGE, Utah, Oct. 16, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The suspected ringleader of a group accused of cheating an endangered St. George woman out of at least $264,500 has been arrested in California.

Frank Gene Powell, 50, was arrested Tuesday, a Utah State Prison spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday to Gephardt Daily. She declined to release additional details.

Powell’s arrest is the fifth in the case, initiated when the victim’s family members, reviewing financial records, discovered the missing funds and the fact that a cabin had been sold for no money down.

Court records filed in the cases of the other arrestees say that the alleged ringleader knocked on the door several months ago and offered to do home repairs in exchange for payment for himself and his workers. The jobs were left undone or were performed poorly, court documents say. The woman was told to pay large amounts of money, in advance, for the jobs.

“During my investigation, I learned that the elderly woman had written checks and given these male suspects thousands of dollars in checks and currency,” say probable cause statements released in the case.

“According to the victim’s family, they were concerned because their mother was not all mentally cognizant, as she has trouble remembering things, following simple conversation topics, counting, etc.

“The family advised that there was one particular male suspect that had built a relationship with her, that they were especially concerned about…. The male suspect that they were concerned about is a parolee that is supervised by Adult Probation and Parole,” the statements say.

Powell served 29 years in the Utah State Prison after being convicted of murder and later an aggravated assault of an inmate. He was released in December of 2017.

Family members also told investigators their mother believed she was engaged to marry “the parolee.”

The exact charges Powell will face in Utah have not yet been released. Already arrested in the case are:

  • Terrence Quincy Powell, 23, of St. George, charged with seven counts of exploitation of a vulnerable adult, one classified as a second-degree felony and six classified as third-degree felonies. His bail was set at $50,000.
  • Faye A. Renteria, 41, of Hurricane, charged with 10 counts of exploitation of a vulnerable adult, nine of them classified as second-degree felonies and one as a third-degree felony. Her bail is also set at $50,000.
  • Martell T. Powell, 25, of Cedar City, was charged with one count of exploitation of a vulnerable adult, a second-degree felony. His bail is set at $10,000.
  • Rocky James Mott, 40, of Hurricane, faces the same charge and bail amount as Martell Powell

Also charged in the case is Gloria J. Powell, the mother of Frank Powell. Gloria Powell, 73, faces one count of obstructing justice, a third-degree felony. It is not clear whether she is in custody or still at large. Her bail is set at $50,000.

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