A 90-year-old Cody woman was robbed of more than $25,000 in 2018, a crime to which her granddaughter has pleaded guilty to stealing.
On Sept. 4, Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters ordered Crystal Gwynn, 34, to pay $25,004.48 in restitution to her grandmother Mildred Krasovich for reckless exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
Gwynn is a resident of Whitney, Texas, about 74 miles south of Dallas, but was made a primary agent to her grandmother’s finances when Krasovich established a durable power of attorney status on her banking account in 2016. Her boyfriend Thomas Conroy was listed as a secondary agent, according to the Cody police affidavit.
In June 2018, Gwynn was issued a debit card that gave her direct access to draw from Krasovich’s account. For the next five months, she proceeded to draw $24,644.79 off the account, with one withdrawal as large as $12,500.
“Crystal did not exercise her fiduciary responsibility as her grandmother’s agent with the … money but diverted the funds to her own use,” detective Richard Tillery said.
During this time period, Gwynn only deposited money back into the account twice, $459.07, for payments on her grandmother’s mobile home insurance and electric bills.
Krasovich was a patient at the Cody Regional Health Long-Term Care Center during the transactions, with her mobile home at Parkway RV Campground unoccupied. Gwynn had been added to the bank account – to Krasovich’s knowledge – for the purpose of paying her grandmother’s bills while in care, Tillery said.
Tillery said no other payments were made on Krasovich’s behalf, so both home insurance and electricity were shut off. Despite the payments no longer being paid, Andrew Syring, the owner of Parkway RV, was forced to reopen the electricity account and pay on Krasovich’s behalf so the park’s main water line below Krasovich’s mobile home did not freeze, Tillery said.
Syring also told authorities no payments had been made toward Krasovich’s mobile home lot rent and other fees during her stay at the care center. Despite multiple attempts he made to make contact, Gwynn stopped communicating with him by phone about a month after her grandmother was admitted into care, he said.
As of December 2018, Krasovich owed a total $1,224.28 to the RV park.
When Krasovich was informed of Gwynn’s activity by Tillery and Department of Family Services caseworker Stacie Sullivan, she, “expressed surprise and disappointment that Crystal would have been taking advantage of her,” Tillery wrote in the affidavit.
With the assistance of Cody Regional Health Social Worker Neisha Potter, Krasovich promptly revoked Gwynn’s power of attorney and opened up a new bank account.
“Despite Mildred’s age and some hearing loss, she presented herself as very competent and mentally capable of conducting her personal business,” Tillery said.
A warrant was placed for Gwynn’s arrest on May 1 and she was taken into custody on June 25. She was released on bond the next day.
Charges for theft of $1,000 or more were dismissed per her plea agreement. She will also serve one year unsupervised probation and was given a 364-day suspended jail sentence, which could be imposed if she commits another crime. If Gwynn had received maximum sentencing, she could have faced up to 20 years in prison.