Newport Coast man accused of stealing $534,850 from 95-year-old woman with dementia

Orange County sheriff’s deputies arrested a Newport Coast man Wednesday on suspicion of stealing more than $500,000 from a 95-year-old woman with dementia and using the money to pay for personal expenses, including a two-week vacation in Paris, prosecutors said.

Thomas Chapman Hood, 69, was charged Tuesday with 19 felony counts of forgery, one felony count of first-degree residential burglary to commit larceny and financial elder abuse, and one felony count of theft from an elder, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Hood, a licensed real estate broker, also faces sentencing-enhancement allegations of non-accomplices being present during a residential burglary, aggravated white-collar crime over $500,000 and property loss over $200,000.

He was booked into Orange County Jail with bail set at $534,850.

The district attorney’s office alleges that in March 2015, Hood, then working part time as an assistant to the trustee of the 95-year-old woman’s bank accounts, stole the woman’s checkbooks, which were at the home office of the trustee’s secretary in Orange.

Between March 17, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016, prosecutors allege, Hood forged the trustee’s signature on dozens of checks totaling $534,850, which he deposited in his personal bank account.

Prosecutors contend he used the funds for personal expenses including credit card bills and the vacation in Paris.

In October, the trustee discovered something was wrong when he tried to make a payment from the woman’s account to her assisted-living home and it was denied because of insufficient funds, according to the district attorney’s office.

The trustee contacted Orange County sheriff’s deputies, who investigated the case.

Hood’s arraignment date has not been determined.

Twitter: @BradleyZint