Independence County man accused of swindling couple out of their life savings

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An Independence County man is accused in Independence County Circuit Court of soliciting more than $90,000 from an “incompetent” couple, according to court records.

The court information says the victims, a married couple, had both been diagnosed with dementia, with the husband’s diagnosis around April 3 of 2014 and the wife’s diagnosis following.

Claudie Gene Simpson, 80, was charged in court documents with 25 counts of soliciting money or property from incompetents. The crimes started in March 2015 and continued until November of 2017. The affidavit of probable cause says that during this time frame, Simpson solicited a total of 25 separate checks totaling $90,200 from the disabled couple.

Due to the couple’s mental state, the husband and wife were not capable of knowing or reporting the fraudulent activity until their son uncovered the banking records in the early months of 2018. At that time, the son reported the crimes to the Independence County Sheriff’s Department.

The court record went on to say that at the time of these actions, the family remained in their home and the son supplied help by respectable means. Then, due to their declining condition over a period of time, the couple had to be removed from the home and placed into assisted living.

Prior to this move, the son found that his mother having issues paying bills and preparing income taxes. This was in January of 2018. The couple then requested the son’s help. This was when he discovered that mother and father’s life savings were gone.

Investigating the couple’s banking history, it was discovered that in the couple’s weakened mental state, where they were not capable of making life-changing decisions, they were swindled out of the $90,200 from Simpson, who was a life-long acquaintance and past supplier of medical insurance.

Simpson, according to the court docs, attempted to appease the couple’s son by writing him a personal check in the amount of $50,000. That check was returned due to insufficient funds. The prosecuting attorney then subpoenaed or the balance history of Simpson’s account. The prosecuting attorney found that at the time the $50,000 check was written, Simpson’s account had a zero balance with a negative balance of $3,713.46 four days prior. Detectives said this showed Simpson had no intention of paying back for his wrongdoing.

Detectives interviewed Simpson on Dec. 3 of this year at the sheriff’s department, according to the court record. During the interview, Simpson confirmed he had received money from the victims, noting he used the money to live on and that it was not his intentions to deceive the couple out of their money. Simpson told authorities he just didn’t have the money to pay them back.

The sheriff’s department said restitution is owed in the amount of $90,200 to the victims for the money solicited by Gene Simpson.

Of note: On April 11 of 2011, Simpson claimed a $1 million prize from the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. Simpson won the prize with an Arkansas Million Dollar Raffle ticket purchased at a gas station in Batesville. (Click here for more info on that story from KAIT.)

Simpson was taken into custody this week and charged with 25 counts of soliciting money or property from incompetents. He was then was released after he posted a $40,000 bond.

Gene Simpson.jpg
Gene Simpson from a file photo

 

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