Retailer pleads no contest to elder fraud

Interesting story out of San Antonio.  A retailer, Arrow Upholstery & Drapery, was ordered to pay a $102,000 fine after pleading no contest to felony elder fraud.  This San Antonio Express news story has the details:

Bertha Briggs, who lived in the Towers retirement community, contacted Arrow Upholstery in April 2006 to install five window drapes. The business initially charged her $62,000 but later agreed to reduce the amount to $11,300 after her daughter complained, according to court documents.

Despite the steep reduction, Briggs was still overcharged, her daughter, Sharon Morey, said in court documents.

Morey traveled from California to meet with the Bexar County district attorney's office in June 2006, after getting a call from her mother's bank attempting to verify a $35,000 down payment check to Arrow Upholstery.

The daughter said Briggs, who died this year, was 90 years old and her eyesight, hearing and memory were failing at the time the purchase was made.

“She had never been good with numbers or finances, and now whatever skill she once had is virtually gone,” Morey previously said in court documents. “She frequently says to anyone, including  strangers, ‘I can't see, I can't hear, but otherwise I'm all right.'”

As the story notes, the line between unethical and criminal was Briggs' lack of mental capacity.

TXPLMichael Young