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Former DeKalb School Secretary sentenced for exploiting elderly

6:18 PM, Feb 25, 2013   |    comments
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DECATUR, Ga. -- A former Cedar Grove Middle School Secretary was sentenced to 30 years on Monday, on 21 felony charges.

Bobbie Ward was found guilty of crimes committed against six elderly and disabled adults over a five-year period.  Ward was also charged with neglect, exploitation, false imprisonment, first degree forgery, and thirteen counts of identity fraud.

Ward was ordered to spend 20 years of her 30 year sentence in prison, and pay $14,229 in restitution to one of the disabled victims.  Once Ward is released, she will not be allowed to house any person not related to her.  

Erik Burton of the DeKalb County District Attorney's Office said Ward took elderly and disabled adults into her home, and let them live in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. The elderly victims were not given enough food, and Ward gave them inadequate medical treatment.

An elderly man escaped through a window after being locked in the room, and broke his foot during the escape, according to Burton.

Burton says Ward took money from the victims' bank accounts, and signed their names on government checks without their permission.  She also used the victims' identities and personal information to set up utility services at 12 different DeKalb Co. homes. One of the victims was deceased when Ward committed the fraud.

"This sentence sends a resounding message that elder and disabled adult exploitation will not be tolerated in DeKalb County," District Attorney Robert James said. "She relentlessly preyed on vulnerable adults and exploited them for her own personal financial gain."

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