By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD — Charges have been filed against a Rockford woman authorities say financially exploited an elderly man.
According to a criminal complaint filed Monday, Anita Rolanda White, 47, faces two counts of financial abuse of an elderly or disabled person.
Sources The Times talked to in a previous report say the charges stem from a relationship White began in 2014 with a man in his 70s. Court records show that the couple married on Feb. 16, 2017, and that the marriage was dissolved in May.
Family members say the marriage was dissolved when a Winnebago County judge ruled the man, who suffers from dementia, was not of sound mind when the union was legalized.
Documents produced by the victim’s family show sizable bank transfers and other transactions from 2014 to 2017 Doug Hillenburg, the man’s son, said raised a series of red flags.
Hillenburg says his father, now 77, gave his new girlfriend gifts, which explained some of the lavish spending. But a host of other things like title loans, a vehicle purchase, new credit card accounts, even a real estate loan application, were done without his dad’s knowledge.
There were mounting utility bills and missing petty cash. Eventually, Hillenburg said he decided to report what he discovered about his father’s finances to police.
“The [electric] bill was $700,” Doug said in August. “They were going to shut it off. The water bill was racked way up. There was a big Verizon bill. There was no money. At one point, [his bank account] was overdrawn by $1,300.”
And that, Doug said, was uncharacteristic for his father, even after he’d been diagnosed with an array of health problems. Hillenburg says his dad was collecting a $4,000 monthly pension and always had enough to pay his bills.
Hillenburg is now his father’s legal guardian.
Data compiled by the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) shows home repair, investment and phone scams are common among seniors, along with unauthorized transfer of real estate, theft and fraud.
Charges against White are Class 4 felonies, punishable by one to three years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. She is considered innocent until proven guilty in court. R.