from the District Court of Natrona County The Honorable W.
Thomas Sullins, Judge
Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender:
Diane Lozano, Wyoming State Public Defender; Kirk A. Morgan,
Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel.
Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney
General; Christyne M. Martens, Deputy Attorney General;
Caitlin F. Harper, Senior Assistant Attorney General.
BURKE, C.J., and DAVIS, FOX, KAUTZ, and BOOMGAARDEN, JJ.
Tamara Voelker appeals from the judgment and sentence entered
after her guilty plea to one count of intentionally
exploiting a vulnerable adult. She contests only the restitution
award of $43, 821.30 to the gentleman whose resources she
depleted, 89-year-old Wallace Reaves. We affirm.
Voelker makes a single argument:
The district court erred when it held that the State had met
its burden of proving the amount of restitution.
Upon finding that he was increasingly unable to care for
himself, manage his finances, and pay his bills, Reaves
initially welcomed the assistance offered by Voelker, whom he
considered a friend. She claimed that he occasionally gave
her gifts in return. However, by mid-April of 2016, Reaves
discovered that she had misappropriated all the funds he had
saved for anticipated home health care that would permit him
to live out the rest of his life in his own home.
He informed his family about his predicament, and after
examining his accounts, his daughter-in-law reported the
matter to the Casper Police Department. At roughly the same
time, the Department of Family Services' testing of
Reaves' orientation, memory, and concentration indicated
that he might be impaired by dementia. Detective Shannon
Daley eventually took charge of the investigation into
Voelker's alleged sixteen-month exploitation of Reaves.
In the course of her investigation, Detective Daley examined
Reaves' checking account with Hilltop National Bank and
his credit or debit card accounts with Reliant Federal Credit
Union, U.S. Bank, Sears, and American Express. Voelker was
able to make purchases through those accounts. Although the
detective had mixed success in obtaining additional records
from the vendors involved in the purchases, she found several
hundred transactions that appeared to exploit Reaves.
The nature of a majority of those transactions made it
unlikely either that Reaves initiated them or that he
benefitted from them. For instance, online purchases
predominated, but he lacked both the equipment and knowledge
necessary to make them. Well over 100 transactions involved
the purchase of e-books, and he did not have a reader for
those books and suffered from glaucoma. Nearly 250 charges
were made to Jewelry Television for approximately $13, 700
worth of jewelry. Over $1, 660 was spent on online beauty
products. More than $3, 500 was spent for utility and
communications services at Voelker's address or from
providers other than those used by Reaves. Medical service
providers other than those he used were paid $2, 459, $918
was paid to a different auto insurance company than the one
he used, and over $1, 470 was charged on credit cards ...