ST. GEORGE, Utah, Oct. 10, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A man and woman are facing multiple felony charges after allegedly exploiting an elderly St. George woman.
Probable cause statements from the 5th District Court of St. George said Faye Ann Renteria, 41, of St. George, is facing 10 counts of exploitation of a vulnerable adult; nine second-degree felonies and one third-degree felony.
Terrence Quincey Powell, 23, also of St. George, is facing seven counts of exploitation of a vulnerable adult; one second-degree felony and six third-degree felonies.
Officials received information Tuesday the family of an 80-year-old woman, that they believed several male suspects were taking advantage of her, the statements for Renteria and Powell said.
“During my investigation, I learned that the elderly woman had written checks and given these male suspects thousands of dollars in checks and currency,” the arresting officer wrote. “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 man that they were concerned about is a parolee who is supervised by Adult Probation and Parole. This parolee is married, lives with his wife in Washington County, but was supposedly engaged to the elderly 80-year-old woman, the statements said. The elderly woman’s family reported that she recently signed over the family’s cabin to this parolee for zero money down, and has given him large sums of money. On several occasions, she has given this parolee $30,000, another occasion $38,000, another $82,000, and several other smaller amounts.
“The family also advised that they discovered this information when helping the woman with her bank statements,” the statements said. “It was at this time that they noted these alarming transactions and called police. At this time, I began my investigation. While interviewing the elderly woman and her family, I learned that she initially hired the parolee and several of his workers to do some work around her home.”
This began after the parolee knocked on her door near the beginning of March 2019, and pointed out issues he believed needed to be repaired on the exterior of her home, and offered to repair these items.
The elderly woman hired the parolee to repaint the stucco around her home, paint the window trimmings, resurface the driveway and do miscellaneous yard work, the statements said. While these workers, were working in the yard, the parolee would go inside the house and converse with the elderly woman. During his conversations with the woman, he talked her into paying for these jobs up front.
“When I interviewed the elderly woman, I took a look at the home and noted that these odd jobs were never completed, and the quality of work was extremely poor,” the statements said. “Any reasonable person can see that these jobs will need to be redone.”
As time went on, Powell would go to the elderly woman’s home and perform these small jobs with the parolee, the statement said. On many occasions he was paid up front for each job. For these jobs however, he was paid several thousand dollars at a time for performing “meaningless jobs around the house that shouldn’t cost more than $100 in total,” the statements said.
“According to the elderly woman, these workers would often approach her and ask for money up front with her expectation that they would return to her home to start or finish a job,” the statements said. “However, they would neither start or finish any jobs around her house. Upon examining the elderly woman’s ‘to do list’ of jobs that she made for the parolee and his workers, no reasonable person would pay more than a few hundred dollars to have them all completed.”
Upon examining the elderly woman’s financial records that include photocopies of checks she wrote, the arresting officer located a number of checks and cash withdrawals made from her bank. There were a number of checks that were written to herself, to which she reports she cashed, and gave the money to the parolee on every occasion that she wrote herself a check. Officers observed 10 checks written between May 23 and Sept. 30 for between $3,000 and $100,000. The elderly woman said that each time she wrote a check to herself she would cash it and give it to the parolee for promised work he was to perform.
Officers learned there are approximately five suspects that are all related to the parolee, who were taking advantage of the elderly woman in the same fashion, the statement said. One of these suspects, Powell, was arrested Wednesday.
“Upon arresting Terrence at his home, I learned from his grandmother that she was aware of this ‘scheme’ against the elderly woman,” the statement said. “She advised that it was the idea of the parolee and another male suspect who is at large at this time. After arresting Terrence, myself and assisting agents went to attempt to locate the parolee to arrest him.”
Upon arriving at the residence he was believed to be located in Kolob, the parolee fled in a vehicle with three other suspects involved in this scheme. Agents only observed them fleeing, and were too far behind to attempt to stop them. At this time, agents put out an “Attempt to Locate” for allied agencies in Iron County. Deputies in that county located several of the vehicles that fled from the agents, and attempted to stop them.
One vehicle pulled over was a 2019 GMC Sierra being driven by Renteria. The other two vehicles fled from deputies. One was later caught and another male suspect was apprehended, while the parolee and a second suspect are still at large at this time.
When Renteria was arrested, deputies located $12,000 on her person. She was detained and taken to the Iron County Sheriffs Office, where she was questioned. During her recorded interview after being read her Miranda rights, Renteria advised that she is the fiance of the parolee and has been living a common law relationship with the parolee for the last two years. She said that she and the parolee share financial bills together such as rent, utilities, and other daily expenses.
“She also admitted to being aware of the parolee receiving money from the elderly woman, and on several occasions depositing that money into her bank account,” her statement said. “She also admitted to going on extravagant shopping experiences with the parolee.”
Together she and the parolee purchased an $82,000 GMC Sierra truck, which was the same one she was driving when she was arrested. She also admitted that the $12,000 on her person she received from the parolee who got it from the elderly woman the day prior. Faye also admitted to purchasing a 2018 Chevy Camero, and a side by side RZR, all of which were registered in her name.
“At the time of writing this probable cause affidavit, I have only received limited bank records and documents of transactions from the elderly woman, more complete statements and bank records for other months and other accounts are still pending receipt from the victim,” the statement said. “At this time I can only prove that Faye and the parolee received $264,500, and it is clear that Faye directly benefited from it. Additional charges are to come.”
The felonies were committed while Renteria and Powell were on probation or parole.
They were transported to the Washington County Jail with their bail set at $50,000 each.