Thursday, July 09, 2015

Boulder Jury Convicts Con Man Of Tricking 86-Year Old Woman He Met Thru Volunteer Work Out Of Possession Of Her Home For $2,350, Then Using Craigslist To Find Tenants & Pocket $30K+ In Rent; Probe Into Add'l Dubious Deals Involving Other Possible Victims To Continue: DA

In Boulder, Colorado, the Daily Camera reports:
  • Following the felony theft trial of two men charged in a real estate scam of more than $30,000 from an elderly Boulder woman, one defendant was acquitted on all charges, while the other was found guilty and now faces up to 32 years in prison.

    After the 12-person jury, having sat through a five-day trial [...], announced its verdict [], District Attorney Stan Garnett hinted at possible additional charges for Gilbert Million, the defendant found guilty. "Throughout the trial, we have received calls and emails from other people concerned about transactions with Mr. Million," Garnett said. "We will be investigating those."

    Million [...] and associate Lance Stromberg were originally charged in connection with a real estate deal Million brokered. That deal, prosecutors successfully argued, took advantage and robbed, in installments, an 86-year-old woman named Kathryn Howe, who died in November 2014 and whose daughter has been linked romantically to Million.

    After four hours of deliberation [...], the jury found Million guilty on all counts, including criminal exploitation of an at-risk elder, theft of an amount between $20,000 and $100,000 and criminal impersonation.

    Of Million's guilty verdict, [the acquitted] Stromberg said, "I've known him for 30 years. He's sloppy with details. He doesn't dot the i's and cross the t's all the time
    , but he has a big heart and he's a great man, and he just made a mistake here, and the jury saw it differently than I did."

    According to a June 2014 grand jury indictment, and, evidently, in the eyes of the jurors, Million's actions exceeded mere misunderstanding.

    Court documents show he first met Howe at the West Boulder Senior Center, where he volunteered. In 2012, she indicated to him that she planned to sell her home and move closer to her daughter's Longmont residence.

    Million and business partner Stromberg got involved at that point, according to court documents. The three met, and Howe agreed to sell them the home in the 600 block of Dellwood Avenue at a price of $412,500, with the condition that Million and Stromberg pay just $1,000 up front and $9,000 at closing.

    In March 2013, the closing date arrived, and Million presented no check. Two months later, he began advertising the property for rent on Craiglist and collected $32,500 over the next 11 months, funneling payments through Stromberg.

    Million did not wish to comment following the verdict, but he did tell the Camera 10 months ago, "We just had a delay in the closing."

    "It's a fair deal," he said at the time. "The seller is a very sweet person. I care about her dearly. ... Things just got delayed. My mother got sick, my father died, we had the flood, my attorney was late on closing the paperwork. We were trying to get to the closing, but we had a series of events."

    Eighteen months after the deal was made, Howe and her daughter — whom Million dated at some point after the sale — said they'd received a total of $2,350, even though the house was valued initially at up to $600,000.

    "We never bring a case in order to make an example of anybody," Chief Deputy District Attorney Sean Finn said Friday, "but it is important that the community know that if someone is going to take advantage of seniors in our community, we're going to look at it extremely seriously.

    "These cases are not easy to put together, but they're absolutely worth it, and we'll continue to do this."
For the story, see Boulder man faces up to 32 years after conviction in real estate scam (Gilbert Million brokered deal to buy elderly woman's house).

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