HARVEY, LA – On May 1, a Jefferson Parish jury convicted 72-year-old Paul Juarez of exploiting an elderly Terrytown woman, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Court documents show Juarez assumed legal control of her finances and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of her money on many unexplained expenses.
The jury found Juarez guilty of exploitation of persons with infirmities in connection with his spending more than $800,000 of Marjorie Blake’s money, during a six-year period.
Ms. Blake, a retired nurse and divorcée from North Carolina who had no children, died in March 2014 at age 85.
“She died penniless and alone,” Assistant District Attorney Lynn Schiffman, who prosecuted Juarez with Assistant District Attorney Johnny Carr, told jurors.
According to evidence presented at trial, Juarez knew Blake through their West Bank church and, after she was medically deemed unable to make decisions for herself due to Alzheimer’s in 2008, he assumed power of attorney for the ailing woman.
Juarez refused to allow Ms. Blake’s closest relative, a niece who lives in North Carolina, to even visit her aunt.
Testimony showed that in 2010 Juarez transferred more than $300,000 from Ms. Blake’s bank to his own without explanation.
He also made himself and his wife the exclusive beneficiaries to Ms. Blake’s life insurance policy.
He used her money to pay a tax bill in Florida, in a county where his wife owned a business.
Ms. Blake’s niece, who was named in the will, contacted her attorney, who in turn contacted the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, leading to Juarez’s arrest.
Juarez denied exploiting Ms. Blake, and his attorney argued that Ms. Blake made arrangement with Juarez to tend to her own care, and that he was just carrying out her wishes.
Adding that she wasn’t close to her niece, and she didn’t want to return to North Carolina.
The six-member jury deliberated less than an hour before returning with its verdict.