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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Woman Suspected of Robbing Mother

Courts: Ex-Ventura police parking officer's arraignment on charges of bilking ailing parent of $150,000 is delayed.

May 18, 1999|MASSIE RITSCH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

VENTURA — A judge on Monday postponed the arraignment of a former Ventura Police Department employee on charges she bilked her blind, sclerotic and diabetic mother out of at least $150,000.

Ventura County Superior Court Judge Edward Brodie rescheduled the arraignment and a review of the woman's $200,000 bail for Wednesday.

Ventura police arrested Leigh Diane Williams, 27, on Friday on suspicion of grand theft, forgery, fiduciary dependent adult abuse and credit card theft. Investigators say Williams misappropriated more than $150,000 from her mother's bank and credit card accounts without her mother's knowledge.

Williams had been a parking enforcement officer with the Ventura Police Department for nine years when she resigned in March.

Williams' attorney, David Callahan, requested the arraignment delay, saying he needed more time to meet with his client. Callahan said he did not know how Williams would plead to the charges.

Williams' mother, Carole Jean Williams, 53, lives at a Ventura convalescent home, Deputy Dist. Atty. John Lonergan said. She is blind and has multiple sclerosis and severe diabetes, he said.

According to the prosecutor, Leigh Williams robbed her mother of a nest egg that included a life insurance payment from the death of her husband--the suspect's father--and the proceeds from a home sale.

"Often in financial elder abuse cases, the victim is ultimately defrauded of their future," Lonergan said. "This is money that this woman who's disabled needs to live on."

Carole Williams also has a son, but he does not live in the area, Lonergan said.

About half a dozen of Leigh Williams' friends, including a former Ventura Police Department employee, showed up at the courthouse Monday but declined to comment on her case.

According to a court bail officer, Williams is self-employed and has no criminal record.

A Ventura police spokesman, Lt. Carl Handy, would not comment on Williams, but said her arrest was embarrassing to the department.

"We hold our people to a higher standard than we do the rest of the community, because of the public trust that we have," Handy said.

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