A parolee from Vermont pleaded guilty Monday to stealing more than $280,000 from a deaf and blind 98-year-old widow suffering from dementia–and using some of the ill-gotten loot to pay for two pre-owned cars, a Tiffany & Co. engagement ring for his girlfriend, a classic record collection and a sex swing. John Thomas Windsor, 44, of Costa Mesa, was immediately sentenced to seven years and four months in state prison.
But Windsor will get credit for about four and a half years in custody, leaving him 15 or 16 more months behind bars, prosecutor Marc Labreche told City News Service. Without the guilty plea, Windsor was looking at nearly 12 years in prison, the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) said at the time of his arraignment in April 2011.
In the deal reached before a trial began, Windsor was also ordered to pay $296,000 in restitution and a fine of about $592,000.
Windsor's mother was the live-in caretaker for the widow, who was confined to her Newport Beach home and has since passed away. On parole in Vermont for fraud and domestic violence, Windsor moved into the widow's residence without her knowledge in 2007 and then started depleting her bank account by fraudulently using her credit cards.
He also tricked the woman into signing over power of attorney to him. The OCDA previously noted she "did not have the capacity to sign or understand what she was doing." Windsor went on to take out loans against the home, which had been paid off 50 years earlier.
"It's vile and reprehensible that anyone would steal from someone in that condition, who was completely unaware of her surroundings," Labreche said.
Windsor was caught when he tried to make changes in the trust that owned the woman's home. Bank officers notified authorities about the suspicious activity.
He copped to first-degree residential burglary, caretaker theft from an elder, fraudulently using a credit card, and three counts of forgery, all felonies. He also admitted sentencing enhancements for causing more than $100,000 in loss, aggravated white collar crime with more than $100,000 in losses and property loss more than $200,000.