Saturday, February 9, 2008

Jailed Man Arrested For Abuse of Elderly

Revised 2-11-2008

On February 1, 2008, the Honorable Mark S. Curry sentenced defendant Robert Chester Henning to 10 years, 8 months in State Prison. This was the maximum term allowable by law. A Placer County Jury had convicted Henning of five counts of Elder Abuse and five counts of Grand Theft by False Pretenses. Placer County Deputy District Attorney Eden Forsythe prosecuted Henning.

During the one-and-half-week trial, the evidence showed that the defendant used his business as a cover to collect advance payments from elderly victims for mobility devices. The defendant then fraudulently charged their credit cards. He kept the full payment without delivering the mobility devices. The victims all had fixed incomes and ranged in ages from 73 to 86. One elderly person passed away before he was able to testify. The prosecution presented an earlier recording of his testimony.

Auburn,California - An Auburn man was arrested Wednesday, while incarcerated in Placer County Jail on other charges, for suspicion of elder abuse and grand theft. Officials believe there may be more victims.

Robert Henning, 56, had operated National Medical Services on Shale Ridge Lane in North Auburn, with his wife, Elizabeth Henning. Authorities contend that he was selling medical equipment, including motorized scooters, accepting payment for the products, but not delivering them. Detective Jim Hudson, of the Placer County Sheriff's Department, said three victims have come forward thus far saying they ordered motorized scooters and have been defrauded.

"Based on our investigation, we believe there are more victims regarding fraudulent sales tactics by Mr. Henning," Hudson said Wednesday. Helen Bale of Auburn is one of Henning's alleged victims. "I am handicapped and have been using a hand-propelled walker," she said. "I'm now 86 years old and it was getting to be a bit of a chore -- I thought if I could get a motorized scooter ..." Bale contacted National Medical Services and spoke to Henning. She ordered a specific model scooter that would fit in her small car. After months Bale has yet to receive what she ordered. She took her complaint to the Sheriff's Department. "I'd been patient enough," Bale said. She was charged $1,395 for a scooter sold online for $798, Hudson said. "I'm sure there are more victims out there," Bale said.

The victims have filed suit to get their money back. However, Henning is no longer listed as the businesses owner. His stepson, Lawrence Orzalli, who resides in the Bay Area, is listed as the owner. He has reportedly filed for bankruptcy. Henning has also filed for bankruptcy, meaning it may prove difficult for victims to receive reimbursement. Henning had been incarcerated in Placer County for a violation of probation stemming from a July 11 arrest for his reported involvement in a $20,000 embezzlement scam. He has been held on $50,000 bail. With the addition of the two new felony charges, Henning's bail has been increased to $95,000. Steve Poizner, insurance commissioner, said that a California Department of Insurance investigation led to the capture and arrest of Henning.

Henning allegedly sold an unnamed victim a $20,000 certificate of deposit investment. Instead of investing the victim's money, Henning allegedly pocketed the funds he would later use as a down payment on an Auburn home. "Thanks to the hard work and diligence of our investigators, another fraud perpetrator has been apprehended," Poizner said. "Stealing hard-earned money from Californians will not be tolerated. I will continue to protect consumers and track down those who prey on innocent victims." Henning was a licensed life insurance agent until 2004. At that time, Henning was prosecuted and accepted a felony plea bargain for an unrelated criminal case. As a requirement of the plea bargain, he was required to relinquish his insurance license, Poizner said.


"it may prove difficult for the 'elderly' victims to receive reimbursement"
We are hearing that way too many times aren't we ?

Other related posts : Contractor Rips Off 88yr Old Lady in Florida Gets Away with it !

Bilking the Elderly with Corporate Assistance

Who Are Public Agency Investigators Protecting: The Neglected Elder Or The Perpetrator of The Neglect?


Anonymous said...

This article is about my Dad and is completly false. You will be hearing from my lawyer.

Ray said...

Hi, thanks for writing.
I almost pulled the story when I received your letter but then I spoke with a very credible source on the west coast and he told me that your dad was convicted by a jury of his peers.
I realize how painful these must be for you, that's the tragedy of elder abuse that too manny innocent victim suffer just like you.
This is something that must be thought about before hand,anyone that takes advantage of an elderly person must suffer the consequences, even if he is family.