Court of Appeals upholds conviction of man who embezzled $300k from elderly woman

Court gavel file photo
Posted at 2:56 PM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 14:56:50-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of a West Michigan man sent to prison for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from an elderly widow, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Monday.

Nessel’s department worked with the Michigan Department of Treasury and Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs on the case, according to a news release.

Back in February 2019, Gary “Duke” Haynes was sentenced in Muskegon County Circuit Court on the following:

  • One felony count of conducting a criminal enterprise, punishable by up to 20 years and/or $100,000
  • One felony count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult $100,000 or more, punishable by up to 20 years and/or $50,000
  • Eight felony counts of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult $1,000 to $20,000, punishable by up to five years and/or $10,000
  • Four felony counts of taxes-failure to file/false return, punishable by up to five years and/or $5,000

Haynes was sentenced to 90 months to 20 years in prison on the single-count charges and 30 months to five years in prison on the additional 12 counts, which will be served concurrently.

He was convicted after stealing more than $300,000 over the course of four years, beginning when the woman was 90 years old.

Haynes met the woman when she was 85 years old and was given access to her computer, financial accounts and passwords.

He had access to the victim’s money for more than 10 years and used his relationship of trust with her to influence her financial decisions, according to Nessel.

He also took money from her accounts and used it to benefit himself and his companies, Senior Planning Resource and Future by Design.

After his sentencing, Haynes appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Earlier this month, the court issued a 22-page, published opinion affirming on all counts.

“The evidence in this case was clear and I commend the Court of Appeals for upholding Mr. Haynes’ conviction,” Nessel said. “Prosecuting elder abuse and exploitation remains one of my top initiatives. My office remains committed to securing justice against those who take advantage of vulnerable adults.”