Jury Finds West Michigan Man Guilty of Stealing More Than $300,000 from Elderly Client

Contact: Andrea Bitely, Megan Hawthorne; 517-373-8060

December 21, 2018

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced Gary “Duke” Haynes 57, of Comstock Park was found guilty by a jury of 14 felonies for stealing over $300,000 from his widowed elderly client.

Haynes was charged in May 2018 by Schuette’s Elder Financial Crimes Unit.

The charges are as follows:

  • One felony count of conducting a criminal enterprise; punishable by up to 20 years and/or $100,000
  • One felony count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult $100,000 or more; punishable by up to 20 years and/or $50,000
  • Eight felony counts of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult $1,000-$20,000; punishable by up to 5 years and/or $10,000
  • Four felony counts of Taxes-False Return; punishable by up to 5 years and/or $5,000

Schuette’s Elder Financial Abuse Unit prosecuted this case with Muskegon County Prosecutor DJ Hilson.

“This man preyed on a vulnerable senior citizen for nothing more than personal gain and cases like these are the exact reason I created the Elder Financial Crimes Unit,” said Schuette. “I want to thank the Muskegon County’s Prosecutors Office for their commitment to stopping those who would prey on our seniors when they are the most vulnerable to theft and financial exploitation. I also want to thank the Department of Treasury for their assistance on this case.”

Haynes was found guilty on Thursday, December 20, 2018 after a jury trial before Judge Annette Smedley in the 14th Circuit Court in Muskegon. A sentencing date has been set for February 8, 2019.

CASE BACKGROUND

The victim paid a fee to attend a financial planning seminar led by Gary “Duke” Haynes around 2006. The woman was not comfortable with computerized billing, and asked Haynes to help her pay her bills. She was 85 years old, recently widowed, and had no children. The woman gave Haynes access to her computer, financial accounts, and passwords.

Haynes acted as the woman’s agent for 10 years. Haynes used his role as an agent for his client to influence her financial decisions and to take her money for his own advantage. Haynes removed money from her accounts and used it to benefit himself and his companies, Senior Planning Resource and Future By Design. The victim gave Haynes permission to invest some of her money in annuities in her name, but that is not what Haynes did with the money.  Haynes took some of her money without any permission.

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