March 2, 2021
LANSING – An Ypsilanti man has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $100,000 from a vulnerable adult, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.
Calium Turnage, 59, appeared Monday in Washtenaw County Circuit Court before Judge Patrick Conlin, where he pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult over $100,000, a 20-year felony. As part of the plea deal, Turnage will pay $140,000 in restitution and additional charges were dropped.
“The evidence clearly demonstrates that the defendant personally benefited from the victim’s vulnerable position, and in doing so violated Michigan law,” Nessel said. “Our elder populations are particularly susceptible to financial exploitations and we in law enforcement must remain vigilant and prepared to hold bad actors accountable for such transgressions.”
Between July 2016 and December 2017, monthly checks of between $3,000 and $4,000 were written to Turnage from the checking account of a 91-year-old Ypsilanti man, who was an associate of Turnage’s. Turnage had been driving the elderly man to various destinations and doing odd jobs for him. About $30,000 in checks were paid to Turnage in that time span. During the same period, 288 ATM withdrawals totaling $142,000 were made from the victim’s accounts by Turnage.
The elderly man was eventually found to be incompetent, and two weeks before he died, Turnage became entitled to the majority of the man’s $600,000 estate after he submitted a request, allegedly on behalf of the victim, to remove the victim’s longtime girlfriend and name himself as primary beneficiary of the estate. That matter was disputed and settled in a civil lawsuit.
Charges were initially filed against Turnage in December 2020. After the plea deal, the following charges were dropped: one count of embezzlement by an agent or trustee between $20,000 and $50,0000, a 10-year felony; and two counts of failure to file taxes, a five-year felony.
Turnage is scheduled for sentencing at 1:30 p.m. April 12.
This case was handled by the Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Unit. Nessel has made addressing elder abuse a top initiative during her term as Attorney General and helped establish the Michigan Elder Abuse Task Force in 2019.
To view more about the task force, the Attorney General’s initiative and how to report suspected elder abuse, visit the Department of Attorney General's website.