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Saginaw Woman Sentenced to 15 Months Incarceration for Embezzling from a Vulnerable Adult
September 22, 2023
LANSING – Valda Cork, 60, was sentenced today to 15 months incarceration by Judge Darnell Jackson in the 10th Circuit Court in Saginaw County, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Cork pled guilty in June to one count of Embezzlement of $100,000 or more from a Vulnerable Adult, and agreed to a restitution order to repay $196,394 to her mother’s estate and the Michigan Department of Treasury.
In 2018, Cork was appointed as her mother’s guardian and conservator after her mother suffered multiple strokes and was unable to care for herself. It was alleged that over a 12-month period, Cork spent approximately $1.1 million of her mother’s money, which included $228,817 in spending Cork did not report to probate court and $664,872 for the purchase of a condo in Pompano Beach, Florida for which Cork did not have court authorization and the remainder she claimed to have spent on her mother. She purchased the condo using a “ladybird” deed, allowing Cork to inherit the condo when her mother died without having to go through probate, thereby preventing her siblings from inheriting any part of it.
After the probate court appointed a new guardian and conservator for Cork’s mother, the condo was sold, and the proceeds were paid back to her mother’s estate. Restitution is less than the amount Cork embezzled because the probate court ordered the sale of the Pompano Beach condo, which resulted in partial reimbursement to the estate, and because Cork paid back $100,000 after the probate court ordered a forensic evaluation of her conservatorship.
“Unfortunately, even family members cannot always be trusted to safeguard the property of their loved ones. We always warn vulnerable adults and those who care for those adults to be cautious about who has access to a protected person’s property,” Nessel said at the time of Cork’s plea. “Vulnerable adults should be able to live in comfort without being taken advantage of by those appointed to care for them.”
The case was referred to the Department of Attorney General’s office by the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office.