Woman pleads guilty to exploitation
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
10/06/09 at 5:44 AM
A former Department of Human Services employee pleaded guilty Monday to two Tulsa County felony charges of financially exploiting vulnerable adults.
Debra Roberts, 51, waived her right to a trial, and she has no agreement with prosecutors to govern her punishment.
Associate District Judge Dana Kuehn withheld any finding of guilt. Roberts is free on bond while she awaits sentencing — set for Dec. 21 — in the two cases, which were filed in 2008.
Roberts, of Chelsea, was a DHS Adult Protective Services specialist. She was charged in one case with taking nearly $4,500 from an 84-year-old man.
She had been a temporary guardian for the man after a court decided that he lacked the mental capacity to consent to necessary protective services. As his guardian, Roberts had the authority to use his money to pay for residential care and daily living expenses, an investigator's affidavit states.
Prosecutorsmaintain that his nursing home bills went unpaid and that checks signed by Roberts on the man's guardian account were written for cash.
In the other case, Roberts was charged with financially exploiting a 74-year-old mentally disabled man by converting about $5,900 of his money to her own use.
She had been his temporary guardian.
Roberts, whose employment with the Department of Human Services began in August 2004, was suspended from her duties in June 2008.
She was discharged from DHS in November 2008 after an internal investigation.
Roberts has an unresolved exploitation charge in Rogers County.
That charge alleges that she took $900 from a guardianship account — to which she was entrusted on behalf of an incapacitated adult — and converted the money to her own use, records show.
Bill Braun 581-8455
Debra Roberts: In one case, she was charged with taking nearly $4,500 from an 84-year-old man. In the other, she was charged with converting $5,900 belonging to a 74-year-old mentally disabled man for her own use. She was a temporary guardian in both cases.