Attorney Pleads Guilty To Stealing Thousands From Elderly Client - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/28/2008-Tyler

Attorney Pleads Guilty To Stealing Thousands From Elderly Client

"I don't think she'll ever totally trust people again," said Barbara Horton, Vannie B. Smith's power of Attorney.

Horton is 84 year old Smith's power of attorney only because her former one, Steven Sims, used that power against her.

"He began to pick up her mail and told everyone was taking care of her," said Horton, "In October 2006 she went to the grocery store to buy groceries. They wouldn't take her check because there was no money in her account."

But the trouble started a long time before that. Sims had had control of Smith's accounts since 2000. 

Horton says once they began to do the research they found at least $60,000 taken from Smith's various accounts, if not more.

"There were bank accounts and stock accounts where he had durable power of attorney and he was telling them he needed the money to take care of her," said Horton, "A lot of it were dispersed in checks unto himself."

Once they confronted Sims, he admitted to some of the crimes, even sending a letter of apology.

However, when we caught up with Sims today outside the jail, he told us he had no comment.

"I just feel there was no cause for...a perfectly good person to jeopardize his life and ruin the life of a lovely lady," said Horton. 

Horton said it will be difficult to take care of Smith in the manner she has been accustomed to, but today was a step in the right direction.

"We have help with her," said Horton, "I will continue to see that she gets this help and will get the best care we can possibly give her for as long as she lives."

In addition to the sentence, Steven Sims paid $60,000 back to Smith.

The State Bar of Texas is reviewing Sim's license to practice law and the investigation is ongoing.

Danielle Capper, Reporting. dcapper@kltv.com

 

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