FRUITPORT, Mich. — The man who took more than $300,000 from an elderly woman in Fruitport lost all his appeals Monday.
Ardis Liddle met Gary "Duke" Haynes at a seminar he hosted shortly after she moved back to West Michigan, and needed someone to handle her affairs.
Liddle said trusting Haynes with her money was the worst thing she could have done.
“I thought 'well, I don’t know anyone here, so I have to trust someone',” 100-year-old Fruitport resident Ardis Liddle said.
Liddle said Haynes was a father and grandfather. She believed the so-called family man would care for her.
“He’d get you believing in him, you know thinking he was a great guy, and he seemed to be,” Liddle said.
In 2006, Haynes started managing Liddle's money. He'd use her computer right at her desk to pay her bills online. Liddle didn't feel comfortable doing it on her own.
“He did it right here. Right under my nose. That’s kind of what got to me,” Liddle said.
For years, Haynes wrote checks using Ardis' name. She swore under oath she never wrote them.
“At the time I thought I was right, but as time went by, I began to see little things,” Liddle said.
In 2016, Liddle noticed her money wasn't in her account where it should be. Eventually, she went to the police.
“I made it so easy for him. He couldn’t help but do it," Liddle said.
Haynes took more than $300,000. Money Ardis says she's never seen again.
She did receive a few houses in Muskegon Heights that Haynes owned, but the dollar amount came nowhere near what she lost.
In 2019, Haynes was sentenced for a number of offenses including "Embezzlement from a Vulnerable Adult" and "Conducting a Criminal Enterprise"
This leaves Liddle with one message for anyone out there who will listen:
“Be careful. Be careful who you pick. Find out everything you can about them,” Liddle said.
Read the court's full opinion here.