Criminals aren’t always shady-looking characters lurking in the shadows on the streets. Sometimes they hide in positions of power and respect within communities. Sadly, this was the case in a recent situation here in the Las Vegas Valley.
Las Vegas Police Lieutenant Facing Criminal Charges
A Las Vegas police lieutenant, a guardian, and two additional individuals were indicted last Wednesday on theft and ‘elderly-exploitation’ charges. Their indictment followed an investigation conducted by both the state attorney general and Clark County district attorney.
The Las Vegas police lieutenant, James Melton, had worked for Metro since 1994 and now faces 14 felony counts including theft, exploitation of an elderly person, grand larceny auto, and perjury. Melton’s lawyer reported to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he was “…disappointed the state made the decision to charge Mr. Melton.”
Melton most recently worked in the department’s homeland security division and received over $300,000 in pay and benefits in 2016 alone. He has been on paid suspension since July 2017, during which time the authorities were completing the investigation. He is now expected to be relieved from his job without pay.
The victim’s guardian, April Parks, was already jailed in a separate case and is now facing new exploitation charges as well as others. Prosecutors noted that two others, Noel Simpson and Mark Simmons, were also indicted along with Parks and Melton. A qualified criminal defense lawyer will be crucial for these individuals to fight against the crimes they are facing.
How Did The Crime Occur?
So what was the crime? Prosecutors are claiming that Melton worked with Parks, who owned A Private Professional Guardian LLC, her office manager Simmons, and attorney Simpson to exploit an elderly couple.
Between 2010 and 2017, prosecutors allege that the four criminals worked together to obtain over $700,000 of Beverly and Jerome Flaherty’s assets. They filed false and/or misleading legal papers with the court to obtain guardianship and name Melton as the successor trustee of Beverly Flaherty’s family trust.
Attorney General Adam Laxalt reported in a statement, “Protecting Nevada’s families and vulnerable populations is the overarching mission of this office and one that I take very seriously. Just a few short months after obtaining the most significant elder exploitation indictment in Nevada’s history, my office has once again teamed up with our local law enforcement partners to ensure justice is served against those seeking to exploit our elderly. These targeted crimes strike at the very heart of our tight-knit communities, and will be pursued aggressively by my office.”