Elder Financial Crimes Unit charges west Michigan man

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette last Friday announced his new Elder Financial Crimes Unit has charged Gary “Duke” Haynes 57, Comstock Park, with 14 felonies for allegedly stealing over $300,000 from his widowed elderly client.

The charges are as follows:

• One felony count of conducting a criminal enterprise.

• One felony count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult $100,000 or more.

• Eight felony counts of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult $1,000-$2,000.

• Four felony counts of Taxes-False Return.

Schuette’s Elder Financial Abuse Unit will be prosecuting this case with Muskegon County Prosecutor DJ Hilson.

“Many of Michigan’s senior citizen have worked all of their lives to save for retirement,” said Schuette.  “My office and the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office are committed to stopping those who would prey on our seniors when they are the most vulnerable to theft and financial exploitation.”

Haynes was arraigned on May 25 before Muskegon County 60th District Court Judge Harold F. Closz. His bond was set at $25,000 cash or surety.

The alleged victim paid a fee to attend a financial planning seminar led by Gary “Duke” Haynes in 2006. The woman was not comfortable with computerized billing, and asked Haynes to help her pay her bills.  She was 85 years old, recently widowed, and had no children.   The woman gave Haynes access to her computer, financial accounts, and passwords.

It is alleged that Haynes acted as the woman’s agent for 10 years. Haynes allegedly used his relationship as an agent for his client to influence her financial decisions and to take her money for his own advantage. Haynes allegedly removed money from her accounts and used it to benefit himself and his companies, Senior Planning Resource and Future By Design.  It is alleged that the victim gave Haynes permission to invest some of her money in annuities in her name, but that is not what Haynes did with the money.  Haynes also allegedly took some of her money without any kind of permission.

Over the course of 4 years Haynes allegedly transferred over $300,000 from the victim’s accounts to bank accounts belonging to his two companies. It is also alleged that Haynes’s tax returns did not accurately reflect the amount he allegedly took from the victim.

In 2016, the client asked Haynes about money Haynes was allegedly supposed to invest in an annuity in her name. She became suspicious and asked her nephew to intervene with Haynes. The information was reported to LARA who referred the case to the Department of Attorney General.

This case was investigated by the Attorney General’s Elder Financial Crimes Unit (EFCU). The EFCU was created in February 2018 and uses existing staffing and resources from the Corporate Oversight Division-Criminal, the Criminal Division, the Healthcare, Education and Family Services Division and the Healthcare Fraud Division to assist law enforcement and county prosecutors in investigating and prosecuting financial crimes targeting elder or vulnerable adults.