A woman accused of scamming hundreds of thousands of dollars from senior citizens and vulnerable adults appeared in court Monday.
April Parks pleaded not guilty. She faces 212 felony counts of racketeering, theft and exploitation over a five-year period.
Some of her alleged victims say this day couldn’t have come soon enough.
April Parks, along with her husband and another business partner, ran a private professional guardian LLC.
Guardians take care of wards of the court — people who are found unable to no longer care for themselves.
A 270-count indictment from the Clark County District Attorney’s Office says Parks and her company did everything but take care of the people.
“It had ruined our life,” said Rudy North.
North, 80, says he lost everything after April Parks came to his door in 2013.
“Her and her partner called themselves the officer of the court,” North said.
Confused, that’s what North says he was, when Parks gave him three choices.
“My wife and I go to a psychiatric ward. Two, go to jail or three, to an assisted living facility.”
He and his wife chose the third option.
It took their daughter, Julie Belshe, four frantic days to find out where her parents had disappeared to.
“She actually walked into my parents’ home and took them out of their house and said she was an officer of the court and took them without notifying me,” Belshe said.
During that time, Parks gained control of the couple’s assets. It took Julie Belshe nearly two years to get her parents released from Parks’ guardianship.
Parks pleaded “not guilty” to 232 felony charges of racketeering, theft, exploitation, perjury and fraud.
The 123-page indictment alleges she was the ringleader of a scam that bilked $550,000 from the Norths and 148 other victims.
In the indictment, Parks is only one on the hook for exploiting about $1,500 in fees for fraudulent services,
but North says she stole a lot more.
“She took over a million dollars of my assets, that’s cash, gold, silver, and in furnishings and artwork,” North said.
Now, Parks is behind bars after fleeing to Pennsylvania last year.
It’s a moment many victims thought they would never see.
“She’s where she belongs,” North said.
District Attorney Steve Wolfson says he will seek restitution for the victims. But, he cautions there is a low likelihood of regaining any significant portion of these families’ assets. He says many, if not most, of the victims outlined in the complaint have died.