http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2013/07/05/pleasanton-woman-defrauded-by-son-and-his-wife


Pleasanton Weekly

News - July 5, 2013

Pleasanton woman defrauded by son and his wife

Pair guilty of stealing nearly a half million dollars, elder abuse

by Glenn Wohltmann

An Auburn man has been sentenced to 60 months in prison for bilking his 86-year-old mother, a Pleasanton resident, out of her life savings, nearly a half million dollars.

Mark Champlin, 61, now faces a restitution hearing on Aug. 29.

Champlin originally claimed he was innocent. The Auburn-area Realtor switched to a guilty plea in May, copping to six counts of grand theft and six counts of theft from an elder, all felonies. He was sentenced June 24.

The case came to light when Champlin told his sister "that their mother was 'running out of money' and may need to be moved to a cheaper care facility," according to a court document prepared by Pleasanton police Investigator Keith Batt.

His mother is a resident of Eden Villa Assisted Living on Mohr Avenue, where she's lived for years due to "physical handicaps and mobility challenges," Batt's report says.

Champlin and his sister both had debit cards issued to them, and Champlin was supposed to pay his mother's bills, which amounted to little more than paying her room and board, some small necessities, doctor co-pays and prescriptions.

Instead, he used the account as his own, charging things including car rentals, a stay at the Hyatt Hotel in Lake Tahoe and Netflix movie rentals, Batt's report says. He also withdrew cash from the account, according to the report, which says he paid down the principle on his wife's home, paid $1,600 a month for his medical insurance and bought his mother gifts using her own money.

Champlin told Batt that his mother suffers from dementia, and said she'd agreed to let him use her money for himself. However, Batt interviewed the woman and found her "sharp and mentally alert," according to the report. Batt said she was "shocked" to find out he'd been using her money and had never authorized him to do so.

"I told Mark that a review of the bank records indicated that Mark's entire life expenses were paid with (his mother's) account. I told Mark it appeared to me that he took advantage of his mother" Batt says in his report. "I explained that it would be hard for any reasonable person to agree that 'when times are tough' it is reasonable to take vacations, eat out at restaurants, receive spa treatments, etc. I also told him it would not be reasonable to 'pay down' the principal balance of the mortgage on a home, when he is making claims that he needs to borrow to make ends meet."

Batt also said Champlin also paid little attention to his mother, and that he knew little about her physical condition.

Under current state law, he'll only serve 50% of his sentence, and could be eligible for release as early as March 2015.

Meanwhile, a jury found his wife, D'Arsi Champlin, 48, guilty of 11 related felonies. She's set to be sentenced July 12 at Hayward Hall of Justice for five counts of grand theft, five counts of theft from an elder, and one count of receiving stolen property.

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