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COA Upholds Conviction of W. Mich. Man Who Embezzled $300,000 from Elderly Woman

LANSING - The Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of a West Michigan man sent to prison for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from an elderly widow, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today. 

The Department of Attorney General worked alongside the Michigan Department of Treasury and Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs on the case. 

In February 2019, Gary "Duke" Haynes was sentenced in Muskegon County Circuit Court on the following: 

  • 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 five years and/or $10,000; and 
  • four felony counts of taxes-failure to file/false return, punishable by up to five years and/or $5,000. 

Haynes was sentenced to 90 months to 20 years in prison on the single-count charges and 30 months to five years in prison on the additional 12 counts, to be served concurrently. 

He was convicted after stealing more than $300,000 over the course of four years, beginning when the woman was 90 years old. Haynes met the woman when she was 85 years old and was given access to her computer, financial accounts and passwords. Haynes had access to the victim's money for more than 10 years and used his relationship of trust with the victim to influence her financial decisions. He also took money from her accounts and used it to benefit himself and his companies, Senior Planning Resource and Future By Design. 

Following the sentencing, he appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Earlier this month, the Court issued a 22-page published opinion affirming on all counts. 

"The evidence in this case was clear and I commend the Court of Appeals for upholding Mr. Haynes' conviction," Nessel said. "Prosecuting elder abuse and exploitation remains one of my top initiatives. My office remains committed to securing justice against those who take advantage of vulnerable adults." 

The Court's full opinion is on the Department's website.