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Caretaker sentenced to five years in prison for stealing from Balboa Island man with dementia

A Newport Beach caregiver was sentenced to five years in state prison Friday for stealing more than $125,000 from an elderly Balboa Island man who suffered from dementia.

An Orange County Superior Court jury in June found Guillermo Trujillo, 43, guilty of two counts of caretaker theft from an elder older than 65 and nine counts of money laundering, all felonies.

He also was found guilty of a sentencing enhancement for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, according to Orange County Superior Court records.

Prosecutors alleged that immediately after Trujillo began working as a caregiver for the then 70-year-old man in November 2012 he began stealing from him. Trujillo lived in the unit above the man and provided him with transportation and help with daily tasks in exchange for free rent.

For more than a year, Trujillo went to various ATM machines to take money from the man’s account. In all, he stole about $117,900 through unauthorized cash withdrawals, prosecutors said.

In December 2013, prosecutors contended, Trujillo opened up a joint account with the man at Union Bank on Balboa Island and transferred $90,000 from the man’s account into the shared account. He told the man it was for safekeeping.

The branch manager at the bank became suspicious and alerted Adult Protective Services, which launched a joint investigation with the Newport Beach Police Department and the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Trujillo spent approximately $8,900 of the transferred funds before the $90,000 transaction was reversed, prosecutors said.

During a search of Trujillo’s home, detectives found the elderly man’s bank statements and a document that showed that he had granted Trujillo power of attorney over his affairs, authorities said.

Newport Beach police arrested Trujillo on Dec. 23, 2013.

The man’s niece wrote in a victim impact statement submitted to the court Friday that her uncle was forced to move from his home on the island and away from his dog, Iggy, into a full-care dementia facility as a result of the theft.

hannah.fry@latimes.com

Twitter: @HannahFryTCN

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