Electronics store employee accused of scamming local vet for $70K

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published August 11, 2020

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BLOOMFIELD HILLS — An Oakland County business owner will be back in court in late August on multiple charges that she allegedly stole more than $70,000 from an elderly veteran.

According to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office, 60-year-old Margaret Risdon, of Bloomfield Hills, embezzled the cash from a vulnerable adult with fraudulent checks and cash ATM withdrawals between Nov. 6, 2016, and July 20, 2017.

The case was referred to Nessel’s office by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General, which began an investigation after the victim raised concerns that someone was stealing from him.

According to reports, Risdon allegedly wrote checks from the victim’s bank account to herself and her business, Electronic Creations, which according to the business’s website is a custom interface board designer and repair shop. Risdon’s friend introduced her to the victim, according to Ryan Jarvi, press secretary for Nessel.

The checks totaled nearly $56,000, and the alleged ATM withdrawals totaled more than $16,000. Risdon would then reportedly deposit the checks into her bank account and withdraw the money in cash, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

All the while, the victim was reportedly unable to care for himself and suffered from physical and mental ailments. He resided in nursing homes and hospitals, and Risdon did not have power of attorney for the victim, nor did she serve as his guardian or conservator. Jarvi said a relative was the legal guardian for the victim at the time, but he cannot disclose any more than that until court proceedings continue.

“My office is not only committed to enforcing the laws of this state, but to ensuring Michigan’s vulnerable populations are not taken advantage of,” Nessel said in a press release. “Even before my time as attorney general began, I understood the important role my office should play in protecting our senior populations. That’s why I helped to create the Elder Abuse Task Force — to advance protections for our senior citizens and advocate for real change and meaningful legislation to improve their lives well into the twilight years.”

Part of the allegations against Risdon include not filing state of Michigan income tax returns to account for the roughly $72,000 she received from the victim between 2016 and 2017.

On July 16, Risdon was arraigned before Oakland County 48th District Court Magistrate Andrea Richardson on one count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult between $50,000 and $100,000, a 15-year felony, and two counts of failing to file taxes, both five-year felonies.

Risdon was given a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. Her attorney, John Holmes Jr., appeared before Judge Marc Barron of the Oakland County 48th District Court for a probable cause hearing and was granted adjournment to review discovery from the Attorney General’s Office.

“That’s all there is right now,” Holmes said. “I need to take a look at everything.”

Risdon is scheduled to return to court Aug. 20. A representative from Electronic Creations could not be reached for comment before press time.

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