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Illinois man charged in $1.4 million theft

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Pedro Oliveira Jr.
December 17, 2009
— An Illinois man is charged in Walworth County with theft of about $1.4 million from an elderly relative who granted him permission to control her finances and health care.

Jason T. Larsen, 36, Rockford, Ill., is accused of transferring property valued at $1 million and withdrawing about $400,000 from the account of the woman, who was in her 80s. Authorities say the money was used for purposes other than the woman's needs.


The woman trusted Larsen would take care of her financial and personal needs, according to her attorneys, who earlier pursued a lawsuit against Larsen.


Attorney John Olson said Larsen and the woman in 2006 asked a Chicago attorney to prepare documents so Larsen could take control of the woman’s property. When the Chicago attorney refused, Larsen prepared the documents himself and persuaded the woman to sign them, Olson said.


He also convinced the woman to move into a Walworth County home with him, Olson said.


Days later, Larsen transferred the deed of the woman’s lakefront property in La Grange Township valued at $1 million to his name, according to court documents. He withdrew more than $400,000 from the woman's account over the next year.


The woman in 2007 discovered the transferred funds and property and demanded Larsen return both. She hired Olson and attorney Martha Cordell, who brought a lawsuit against Larsen.


Judge Robert Kennedy in 2008 ruled the deed void because of a breach of Larsen's fiduciary duty—his legal obligation to not benefit financially from the person who entrusted him with financial control.


At the time, Kennedy said Larsen maneuvered to obtain large amounts of money for his own possession and was unjustly enriched. The judge said the woman did not freely and voluntarily sign the property over to Larsen.


Kennedy also ordered Larsen to pay back more than $400,000. Larsen hasn't returned any of the money, according to court documents.


The Walworth County Sheriff's Office was contacted by Cordell in June. The district attorney's office this week filed criminal charges against Larsen.


A warrant for Larsen's arrest has been filed. He is believed to be in Illinois. If convicted, he faces 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.



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