Writer’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect the actual way the case was presented to the court and how reverse mortgage checks were cashed in.
A Riverside man pleaded guilty Tuesday to abusing a 73-year-old elderly woman, committing multiple forgeries and stealing than $75,000 from her.
Carol Folz died at her Laguna Niguel home in March 2016 under what the Orange County District Attorney’s office deemed were suspicious circumstances.
William Marion “James” Carter copped to felony elder abuse, attempted grand theft, possession of a forged drivers license, money laundering derived from criminal activity, two counts of forgery of public or corporate seals, two counts of attempt to file false/forged instrument, four counts of second-degree burglary, seven counts of grand theft and 23 counts of acts constituting forgery.
For all that the 67-year-old Riverside resident was sentenced to three years in state prison.
From March 10-18 of 2016, Carter was the caretaker for Folz, his wife’s distant cousin. But he provided shoddy care, according to Deputy District Attorney George McFetridge.
Carter allowed Folz to be injured or endangered under circumstances likely to produce great bodily injury or death, according to the prosecutor, who noted she died some time that same month. But instead of calling 9-1-1, the coroner or someone else for assistance, he rang up a private body removal service to transport the body from Laguna Niguel to San Bernardino.
He went on to forge a notary’s signature on the cremation authorization, and the body was cremated without law enforcement, paramedics or the coroner’s office being notified.
After Folz passed away, Carter cashed three reverse mortgage checks on her home, attempted to sell the property worth $859,500, and impersonated a real estate broker, an attorney, a doctor, and the victim’s brother by forging various signatures and documents, jurors were told. He also used Folz’s finances to deposit several cashier’s checks into his personal account, laundering the stolen money at JP Morgan Chase bank.
On Aug. 8, 2016, a Folz relative learned about the sale of her home and contacted law enforcement. Following an OCDA investigation, Carter was arrested at his home without incident on March 16 of this year.
Video of the arrest: