Today's perp walk | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Today's perp walk

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2008 at 12:58 PM

Regular as clockwork, the news releases roll in from U.S. Attorney Jane Duke, announcing another miscreant before the bar of justice. Today's featured players:

* Former Sheridan Police Chief David Hooks, 55, was indicted for embezzlement and mail fraud. Hooks, police chief for six years through last February, used city money to buy stuff for himself and resale to others. Clothes, dog supplies, guns, auto parts. He was a frugal shopper. Wal-Mart was his main source of goods. He also used city money for vet bills and auto repair. In a March raid, the feds found receipts and ill-gotten goods at --  where else? -- the police department.

* More fraud. Three people -- Deborah Ball, 54; Elmer Andy Masoner, 57, and Julie Belisle, 35 -- were named in a six-count indictment for defrauding an elderly person, Elizabeth Becker. Heckuva sad story.

 

Becker had become dependent on the three for caretaking and didn't understand how they had taken control of her asets. They bought $190,000 worth of goods for themselves with her money. Two of the accused also received direct payments of more than $118,000.

The group drew Becker into their web when Becker was recuperating from a broken hip at her home in Arizona. Ball was hired as a full-time caretaker. In time, Ball's boyfriend, Masoner, moved into Becker's home, too. Ball ultimately got Becker to give her a power of attorney. Belisle is Ball's daughter and she moved to Arizona, too, to "assist."

How'd they get caught? A securities company filed a report on suspected elder abuse when Ball and Masoner obtained $200,000 through a reverse mortgage on Becker's home and drew down $135,000 of the money.

After Arizona Protective Services began investigating, Ball and Masoner moved Becker to Hot Springs Village. When they returned to Arizona to sell Becker's home, a home health aide hired in Arkansas to care for Becker in their absence realized something was amiss and reported it to the Hot Springs Village PD. Enter the FBI. Ball and Belisle no longer have Becker's power of attorney.

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