A Vallejo couple has been charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with elder abuse after authorities say they took about $842,000 from their alleged victim, some of which was spent on everything from tuition at UC Berkeley to an Audi luxury coupe. Authorities said some of the money also was spent, legitimately, on the alleged victim’s own living expenses.
Vallejo residents Jeffrey Edward Alexander and Adriana Segurado Rodezno remain in custody at Santa Rita Jail after being arrested on a warrant in San Francisco on May 28.
According to court documents, Alexander met the alleged victim, a 69-year-old Santa Barbara man, in March 2009, after the man’s wife died. Alexander became friends with him and “slowly took over duties assisting him with personal matters. In late 2010 Alexander suggested they move together to Berkeley,” because Alexander’s wife, Rodezno, was going to attend UC Berkeley.
Berkeley Police spokeswoman officer Jennifer Coats said, at one point, all three shared a residence Berkeley, starting in 2010.
In September 2012, the men entered into a business partnership, named McGuffin Holdings after the victim’s cat, and the victim gave Alexander “an investment of $125,000 to use trading foreign currencies,” according to court documents. The man told authorities this was the only large sum of money he knowingly gave Alexander.
Police said Alexander moved a total of about $842,000 from the man’s retirement accounts into his checking account. According to a report written by Berkeley Police detective Alexander McDougall, “Some of this money was undoubtedly spent for Victim’s benefit, including rent on a home, and food and other necessities. However Alexander also spent large sums of money on himself or his wife,” wrote McDougall, including $86,000 for his wife’s UC Berkeley tuition; $17,000 on an Audi luxury coupe; $12,000 on Apple products and computers; $8,000 for personal training sessions for himself and his wife; and $7,200 on a high-end car stereo.
McDougall said in his report that Alexander used the man’s credit card to “support lavish daily spending habits,” which added up to purchases of nearly $400,000.
According to McDougall, the victim became suspicious of Alexander’s activities and reported the possibility of fraud in February. The man said he suffered from mental health issues including attention deficit disorder, depression and post traumatic stress disorder, which affect his ability to carry out normal activities, making him a dependent adult under state law.
At the time of the couple’s arrest, McDougall wrote that Alexander “acknowledged making many of the above purchases and payments, including the tuition, the Audi, the personal training, car stereo, as well as miscellaneous charges to the credit card.” Alexander told police the victim knew about the charges, “but also said some of the charges were excessive and unjustifiable, including the Audi, and said he felt he owed (the) Victim between $183,000 and $217,000 in compensation for the expenses he incurred.”
McDougall wrote that Rodezno told police her husband had paid the bills, “and she assumed the money had come from profits from currency trading. Regarding the vehicles she signed for, she said she followed Alexander’s instructions, and did not know how the payments were made.”
McDougall wrote that his investigation showed Rodezno was aware of the fraudulent activities, noting that, at the time the couple leased the Audi, she signed the lease and told the dealer the alleged victim was her grandfather. Police also said she opened a checking account in her name, which was used to transfer money from the man’s financial accounts.
Alexander and Rodezno were charged on June 5 with theft from an elder or dependent adult. Their bail has been set at $250,000 each, and they are scheduled for a pre-trial hearing June 10 at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland.
Alameda County has declared June “Elder Abuse Awareness Month,” and plans to issue a proclamation about the campaign on June 11 at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse, 1221 Oak St., fifth floor, in the board of supervisors chambers.
Correction: Adriana Segurado Rodezno was not an undergraduate advisor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as previously stated in this story.
Follow Berkeleyside on Twitter, and on Facebook. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Would you like the latest Berkeley news sent to your email inbox once a day? Click here to subscribe to Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing.