Two Californian police officers are under investigation after it emerged they had used their positions to exploit an elderly woman with dementia. Rosalie Santallan Achiu was described by neighbours as a frail military wife who loved to play cards and was liked in her community. Achiu was fluent in several languages and had Filipino relatives but no remaining family in the United States after the passing of her husband, an event that had left her increasingly confused about her surroundings. Then, suddenly, she disappeared without warning. Concerned members of the community phoned the local sheriff who, after a quick investigation, discovered Achiu living in the Philippines.
It was also found that Achiu’s house had been put on her sales and large sums of money had gone missing, and worst of all the culprits were two of the Sheriff’s own deputies.
Deputies accused of complex plan to bilk woman with dementiahttps://t.co/XCLhUjWf3y— 8News WRIC Richmond (@8NEWS) 17 March 2018
“The last time I seen her she was in the back of a cop car,” said one of her neighbours.
It soon came out that the two deputies had placed Achiu’s house on sale, had her visit the bank and cleaned out her safety deposit boxes, withdrew large amounts from her accounts, and rushed through a passport application on her behalf. Achiu even moved in with one of the deputies.
“The cop came … and like emptied out her whole house,” recalled one neighbour.
The deputies managed to get themselves granted power of attorney over Achiu’s estate and one day later she had been bought a one way ticket out of the US. Her family overseas were not even contacted prior to her departure. They were only told that their relative would be coming to stay with them after Achiu had been put on a plane. After police found her, Achiu expressed a strong desire to return to the US.
New post (Deputies accused of complex plan to bilk woman with dementia) has been published on https://t.co/gzC9VsBNpz— STL.News (@stlnewsonline) 17 March 2018
, #California #CaliforniaOfficers #JoOsborn #KTXLTV #Sheriff , #General , More Details - https://t.co/XQHDxKfpN4 pic.twitter.com/LkP2D67L6g
One of the deputies, who has been named, has offered a defence of her actions:
“There wasn’t any financial, elder abuse that occurred,” her attorney said. “She was assisting this lady and following this lady’s wishes, there’s been absolutely no financial benefit to Deputy Angel whatsoever.” The attorney went on to say that the deputy found Achiu living in squalor, confused and unable to care for herself. After a doctor confirmed that Achiu was suffering from Alzheimer’s they tried to care for her, but Achiu insisted she be sent back to the Philippines so she could stay with her family.
“All I can tell you is she did what Rosalie wanted her to do,” the attorney said.