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Davis, California

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Three arrested on suspicion of embezzling $1.5 million from elderly Davis couple

Three people accused of scamming a local elderly couple out of their life savings are currently sitting in the Yolo County Jail awaiting trial.

Over a five-year period, the suspects allegedly acquired $1.5 million from the couple. Davis Police arrested the alleged criminals separately over the last couple of weeks.

Davis Police detective Mike Munoz called it an odd tale of deception and fraud that began back in 2004.

The investigation brought Munoz from Ohio to Michigan, where two of the suspects lived.

After the four-month investigation, two of the suspects were arrested out of state and one in the Bay Area. Two of the suspects were arraigned May 24 at Yolo County Superior Court on charges of grand theft by fraud, conspiracy and elder abuse. The third was arraigned Tuesday.

Suspect Richard ‘John’ Morrissey, 41, is the son of the alleged victims. The victims’ names cannot be released because this information is confidential by law, Davis Police detective Sgt. Paul Doroshov said.

Morrissey’s ex-wife Jennifer Haskell, 37, and their friend Marlo Compton, 42, are his alleged accomplices.

Haskell and Morrissey met Compton at the church they attended in Davis. Compton weaseled her way into the family with a sob story, Munoz told the Davis Enterprise.

When Morrissey left for Malaysia in 2005 for missionary work, his parents were assisting Haskell financially. Haskell deposited their checks and cash into a bank account that both she and Compton could use.

Morrissey returned to the U.S. in 2007 after traveling to Egypt, France, England and Ireland. He said he lived a meager lifestyle that included soup kitchens and homelessness. Haskell and Morrissey divorced and she left the alleged fraud ring, moving to Shaker Heights, Ohio.

Morrissey allegedly became Compton’s accomplice and they both moved to Kalamazoo, Mich. They continued to ask for money – to supposedly pay for Morrissey’s medical care and graduate school education.

“They told the parents [Morrissey] needed special medication from France,” detective Munoz told the Davis Enterprise. “They said the medication was illegal in the United States and would treat a variety of health issues.”

This went on until fall 2009, when Morrissey left Kalamazoo and Compton moved to San Bruno, Calif. In a confession this January, Morrissey said his parents had suspected the fraud.

If convicted of one or more felonies, the range of punishment could be probation (which would include up to a year of county jail) to 9 years in state prison, said assistant chief deputy of the Yolo County district attorney’s office Jonathan Raven.

Carole Herman, president of the Foundation Aiding the Elderly, said that as the economy gets worse people are becoming more desperate.

“My advice is buyer beware,” Herman said. “The elderly are easy prey. They just have to be more vigilant and also make sure to never give out their social security numbers.”

The suspects are being held on $1.5 million bail. Their preliminary hearings are next Tuesday.

ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached city@theaggie.org.


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