Before the Stroke


Act I: The Plot


Act II:  

The "X" Secured


Act III:

  The Kidnapping


Act IV, Sc.1:

      The Isolation


Act IV, Sc.2:

   The Plundering


Act V, Sc.1:

      The Dumping


Act V, Sc.2:

          The Rescue



    The Indictments


Appendix I:

  The Perpetrators


Appendix II:

    The Friendship



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                                    Act IV,  Sc. 2: The Plundering

            The primrose way to the everlasting bonfire:

                                     (Macbeth, II,iii,22)



          While Amelia was abandoned in this foster care home amongst strangers, attempting to reach out beyond her 9 x 12-foot, 108 sq. foot room that was now her world, Charles and Carole Dutton continued to enjoy Amelia’s 2,925 sq. foot house.  Amelia continued to make the mortgage payments; the Duttons continued to spend Amelia’s money.


The continued plundering of Amelia's financial resources added to the physical, psychological, and spiritual violence perpetrated against this elderly, wholly dependent lady.


          During the six years the  Duttons' held the Power of Amelia's "X," they spent $168,198.39 of her funds (without paying taxes), leaving a balance of $268.93 when the State took over: 


           Less than three weeks after they secured Amelia's "X" on a  Power of Attorney blank form (August 31, 1985) they commenced to manage her financial  investments:  First, they transferred $10,358.98 from her savings account to her checking account; by December, they cashed in two Certificates of Deposits totaling $5,613.80;  less than a month later, on January 9, 1986, the Duttons' eagerness for Amelia’s money resulted in Amelia sustaining a penalty hit of $844.47 for the early withdrawal of two of her other CDs totaling $16,005.59, plus a check on Amelia's account for $1,003.00 (both for the down payment on the Bend, OR house, of which $300.00 was held back for "cash.")


           To add insult to financial injury, Carole Dutton also charged Amelia $500.oo to look for a house in Bend; this being part of  $1,680.00 in checks ("Cash") Carole wrote to herself during a 16-day period. 


          By end of the first year (December 18, 1986) the Duttons had spent $53,745.28 of Amelia's money (this included $870.oo for new kitchen cabinets and soffits for this house only 6 years old.)  This amount represented her total liquid assets in the bank ($54,325) that she had spent years in saving.  


         This $53,745.28 spent during the first year is exclusive of Amelia's fixed monthly income of Social Security and VA Pension and Survivor Benefits (totaling $12,718.49 for this period).



         This pattern of the Duttons rapidly depleting Amelia's liquid assets (on expenditures one could argue were not directly required for her welfare, while being denied therapy) was to be repeated twice more:


   On October 16, 1986, an initial balloon payment of $7,995.oo from

  the sale of Amelia's Carson City home came in.  In six months it was gone.


  And two years-nine months later (July 13, 1990), the final $17,178.38 balloon  payment came in on the last of Amelia's remaining assets -- her Carson City home.  This balloon payment, like the one above, went directly to Amelia's checking account:  In the next two weeks (& 3 days) Carole wrote $10,095.29 in checks on this account.   In six weeks (by August 31), the Duttons had spent 85% ($14,561.82); and by the end of November, the account was $259.50 short of making Amelia's December rental payment at the Rice's Care Home.  The payment was made after her Social Security and V.A. Pension ($924.oo) arrived.


          The Duttons sold Amelia's Carson City home on August 5, 1986.  For the next 4 years, aside from the two balloon payments, the Duttons enjoyed the $297.50 monthly payments coming in (along with her Social Security and V.A. Pension checks; the total of  the three averaging $1155.70 per month; allowing for annual increases in the government checks).  The average rent during this period for her care at Rice's Care Home was $831.25).


         The last of Amelia's assets, a final balloon payment on her Carson City house, came in 2 years-10 months after she was abandoned in Rice's Home.   The Rice's Log Book (supported by trial testimony) showed the Duttons were not in contact with Amelia during this period, thus not consulting with her.  


         This was the period the Duttons were busy purchasing all the RV vehicles, and, among other necessities for Amelia, $2,755.79 for furniture (presumably to replace what the Duttons alleged, "furniture  . . . disposed of by (Ami) . . .").


         Trial testimony showed Amelia went "without toothpaste" in the Foster Home.   While Charles was riding a new $475 Toro lawn mower, Amelia did not have a TV in her room.  (When Dorothy & Fontella realized this, they sent the money from Carson City  for a new TV, with instructions the TV is to have a remote.    Quinn later obtained a stereo for her -- tuner, cassette and turntable.  Amelia had long before indicated she wanted these items for her extensive LP collection; she was told she had no money left.  Carole did provide her with a radio for her new room at the Rice's Care Home.)




[NOTE: There appears to be discrepancies in deposits made from the monthly payments received from the sale of Amelia's Carson City home (the 12 monthly payments do not tally with their year-end summary of deposits); as well as in other areas (furniture expenditures); plus the total absence of any receipts to support their accounting, suggesting not all expenditures of Amelia's funds were accounted for over the six year period.   The Duttons' own Accounting of Assets, September 1, 1985 - December 10, 1991, for Amelia Lewis de Gremli was, at trial, accepted on its face value.  The Duttons successfully (and aggressively) blocked (on grounds of "confidentiality") all attempts by the State to have access to the actual bank records of both Amelia and the Duttons' accounts for the purpose of comparing with the Duttons' own version .   All figures -- and time frames -- reported on these pages were extrapolated from the Duttons' own, above noted (and one can assume) self serving accounting.]


All checks drawn on Amelia's account were written by Carole Dutton.  During six years this included:


$9,248.93 Carole wrote to herself ("Cash," or "Carole."),  which included $400.oo to attend a "funeral;"  $10,643.58 to her three adult children;  department store (Sears, Pay & Pak, K- Mart, Bi-Mart, etc.)  purchases of $5799.72.  


Over a quarter of the mortgage payments;  Utilities (water, electric, cable, telephone & insurance) totaled $13,349.01.   Telephone bills alone totaled $6,663.22: one monthly bill (Feb., 1988) was $499.09,   six months after Amelia was placed in the Care Home. 


        Eighteen days before her stroke, Amelia wrote out a

        check (#1660) to pay her monthly telephone bill to

        "Nevada Bell: $4.58."



             Carole Dutton also wrote checks totaling $8,063.oo, identified as "shopping" for Amelia, and gave testimony  that Amelia "gave all the purchases away" (since none of   the purchases could be identified nor found in Amelia's  possession).


            The Duttons claimed the same defense regarding much of Amelia’s original furniture: "Ami's furniture and other personal effects (except those listed) were disposed of by her, at her discretion, prior to her entry into Rice’s Foster Care on 09/05/87."  (Parentheses & underline hers.)


        One can speculate that much of Amelia's furniture and kitchen items were either sold or given to their two married sons and, later, to their daughter Pamela Gayle (married to Jeffery John Turner, Aug., 1992).


Fontella best described finding Ami at the Rice's Care Home with no new clothes:


     "When we visited Ami in 1991, we were upset because she didn't have any new 

clothes.   . . .  We went through her clothes closet and there was not one item of  clothes there we had not seen her wear in Carson City before her stroke in 1985.     When we arrived she was wearing clothes we had seen her wear before her stroke.


     "She had the same flimsy blue cotton bedspread on her bed which she used in  Carson City.  It also upset us because it had dirty spots on it and was nearly worn out."      


     Dorothy adds that Ami's "nice brown outfit . . . and the long dress she just bought  for her 65th birthday" was missing.  (Her birthday was 10 days before her stroke.)              



           Aside from the above expenditures, the Duttons also used Amelia's funds to purchase a new 1985 Ford LTD Station Wagon; a used 1985 GMC Pick up; a 1976 Tri-hull 16' boat & trailer; a 1972 Caveman 8' Camper (for GMC Pickup) plus RV accessories; all totaling $22,785.95.


          Like the move to Oregon, the Duttons planned ahead: In May, 1987, they replaced (at Amelia's expense) an existing fence and installed a new fence with an "11 foot double RV gate & 5 foot walk-through gate."  Three and a quarter years later (Aug., 1990, long after she was abandoned in Rice's Care Home), the  RV vehicles were purchased.


          Other items “requisite to Amelia's care” and purchased with her money included:


 Toro riding Power mower ($474.95);  Fertilizer spreader ($171.66);  two Hide-a-beds for Amelia's 3-bedroom house  (a new one for $659.89, and the other, purchased from her son Mike, two years later, for $300.00, may well be a double  entry for the same bed).


          Amelia’s money paid Mike's (their son) utilities ($1,006.48) when he and his wife were living, rent free, in Amelia's Carson City house after she was taken to Oregon; and $2,237.34 toward his education. 


         And Carole wrote a check for "Bill (baby), $300.oo."   And both sons received a "Loan/Mike & Bill,  $1.381.oo."


         Pamela alone was given $4,593.05 from Amelia's account: $1,277.44 to pay off her loan with the U.S. Bank; $1,696.11 toward her college education; and much of the remaining 35% not identified.


        Pam currently possess Amelia's triple strand of seed pearls (1982 appraisal = $1,500.oo).  Both Pam and Amelia state the pearls were given to Pam.  (The pearls were originally designated for Dorothy Dutton in Amelia's 1982 Will, before Charles and Carole rewrote Amelia's Will).


    However, Carole Dutton had written on the Rice's Foster Care Home Intake Sheet, under Money Management, "lost concept  of 'value' with stroke."  (This writer quickly learned not to overly show admiration of any of her possessions: she would be quick to say, “It’s yours.”  A gesture of appeasement from one so helpless and dependent.


         Pam attended (the private) Linfield College, McMinnville, OR, during 1987 and 1988 (possibly longer).  While the Duttons freely used Amelia’s money for Pam’s education,  she applied for and received financial aid from the college as an "emancipated student," but the Duttons listed her as a dependent living at home on their 1040 returns.  (Linfield College is a three-hour drive from Bend.)    


        The Rice's Log Book indicated none of the sons (nor Charles) visited Amelia in the Care Home; Pam made one visit after the State revoked their Power.)


        When Amelia was abandoned in the Rice's Foster Care Home, the Duttons kept all her valuable jewelry.  At trial, the Duttons testified they did not let Amelia keep the jewelry because they were afraid her jewelry would be stolen at the Foster Care Home (limited to five residents.)


          Fifteen months after Amelia was placed in Rice's Foster Care Home, her money made all the payments on a $3,500.oo second mortgage, carried on her six-year old house: to upgrade the central heating.  No receipts were ever produced.


          The Duttons annual personal income for the six years they held Power averaged $34.548.oo; with access to Amelia's assets, this annual average increased to $62,748.oo, without paying additional income taxes.


         The Duttons made available only the first page of their own 1040 IRS returns for the 6 years in question (having successfully blocked the State's attempts to have access to their  personal bank records).  The return for tax year 1988 shows (besides the W-2 gross income) a Schedule E  income of $3,159.oo;  The Schedule E ("Rents, royalties, partnerships, estates, trusts, etc"), and the source of this income was never disclosed. 


         This compiler of events calculates from the Duttons' own accounting that of the $168,198.39 of Amelia's funds spent, that $109,309.oo was diverted directly to the Dutton's own benefit (this takes into account Amelia paying her own share of household expenses).   None of this income is reflected on the Duttons' IRS forms for the years in question. 


          At trial, the Duttons stated Amelia communicated her permission to spend all her money and to make specific purchases by the “meaningful gesturing with her arms," and saying, "Everything I have is yours."


    "Mi Casa es su casa."  Often heard in Mexico, and a favorite greeting of Amelia               to guests visiting her home.  The house she rented in Mexico City, on Avenida               Monte Blanco in Lomas Chapultepec, had these welcoming words set in tile just

     inside her front entry.   Evidently, the Duttons took her greeting literally.



Amelia was asked only two questions by the State:  Did she understand the proceedings for the past two weeks ("Yes"); and did she approve of these expenditures ("No").



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