Plano man prosecuted for financial exploitation of his mother

As I've noted before, all too often district attorneys don't place a priority on prosecuting financial crimes against the elderly.  Credit to Tarant County prosecutors David Lobingier and Sabrina Sabine for obtaining a guilty plea and order of restitution for misappropriation of property by a fiduciary.  According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram story:

A Plano man was ordered Wednesday to repay his 74-year-old mother more than $87,000 as a condition of his probation for improperly spending money she entrusted to him.

John Michael Hook, 54, was sentenced in November to 10 years’ probation after he pleaded guilty to misappropriation of property by a fiduciary, someone who acts on another’s behalf. Because his victim — his mother — was older than 65, the charge became a second-degree felony with a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison. But Hook disputed the state’s assertion that he improperly spent $87,148 of his mother’s money over four months in 2004. So, a hearing was scheduled for March 20 where Hook’s attorney, Jim Shaw, and prosecutors David Lobingier and Sabrina Sabine argued about how much Hook owed his mother, Phyllis Parish. The case was prosecuted in Tarrant County because that is where Parish signed over her power of attorney to Hook in 2002 and that’s where her bank was. During the 50-minute hearing before 396th District Judge George Gallagher, a financial analyst demonstrated how Hook transferred money from his mother’s bank accounts to his own accounts and used the money to pay off credit cards, a motorcycle loan and other expenses. Unfortunately, abuse of powers of attorney is all too common and is often done by a family member.

TXPLMichael Young