A couple was arrested for financially exploiting a 92-year-old woman who was in their care, the Pima County Sheriff's Department says.

Joseph Wingate and his wife, Rebecca Wingate, face charges of theft from a vulnerable adult and fraudulent schemes and artifices, said Deputy Tracy Suitt, a Sheriff's Department spokesman, on Wednesday.

The Wingates, owners of Wingate Adult Care Home, 6725 N. Amahl Drive, were booked into the Pima County jail.

The victim was living in the care home at the time, which is in a northwest-side neighborhood, east of North La Cholla Boulevard and south of West Ina Road.  

In February, the sheriff's department was notified by Adult Protective Services that the victim was being financially exploited by the Wingates, Suitt said.

The victim's family noticed the movement of money on the victim's account, and found changes to the woman's trust, said Suitt. They also found out that $150,000 had been "gifted" to Joseph Wingate, he said.

The woman's family reported it to Adult Protective Services.

Detectives from the financial crimes unit allege that the Wingates exploited the victim between July 2012 and February 2013. Joseph Wingate was able to get power of attorney over the woman's finances, Suitt said.

Wingate put his name on the victim's accounts, and changed her will, making the Wingate family the heirs, Suitt said. The Wingates used the elderly woman's money for a trip to Disneyland, and they bought a van, and began building a garage to house the van and other items, Suitt said.

The victim is now living in another adult care home, said Suitt.

Suitt said the Arizona Department of Health Services, which licenses adult care homes, will investigate the case and determine what actions will be taken against the Wingates' adult care home license.



Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at cduarte@azstarnet.com or 573-4104.