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Woman charged with allegedly draining elderly, disabled mother’s accounts

By Mark Shenefelt - | Nov 24, 2021

BEN DORGER, Standard-Examiner file photo

The 2nd District Court is seen on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in downtown Ogden.

OGDEN — After an elderly woman’s house fell into foreclosure and her utilities were shut off, authorities have accused her daughter of siphoning thousands from the woman’s accounts and selling off land from her defunct dance studio.

The Weber County Attorney’s Office on Monday charged MiLauna Baird, 44, with second-degree felony unlawful dealing of property by a fiduciary, third-degree felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult and class A misdemeanor theft.

Last spring, Adult Protective Services alerted the Weber County Sheriff’s Office to check on the welfare of an 83-year-old woman who had operated a dance studio in Washington Terrace. The agency said it suspected the woman’s daughter may have been financially exploiting her.

A police probable cause statement said detectives obtained a year’s worth of financial records after their interviews with the older woman indicated she had memory problems, such as having trouble remembering her own name or that the studio had been closed for three years.

The affidavit said thousands of dollars were withdrawn from the elderly woman’s accounts in March this year, leaving a negative balance, and her water was shut off for nonpayment. It said a family acquaintance stepped in to become a trustee of the woman’s finances to help get the home out of foreclosure. The affidavit said that man determined that six monthly mortgage payments had been missed and the water, power and gas bills were several months behind.

A detective reported that he interviewed Baird, who said she had a power of attorney for her mother and had been managing her finances. Baird said she had withdrawn money to pay off the woman’s taxes, but there were no receipts for tax payments.

The affidavit also alleged Baird sold off a piece of property at her mother’s old dance studio for far below the market value and she could not account for any of the missing money. The woman also allegedly took a trip to Wendover with her mother’s money.

Baird was not arrested and a summons will be issued for her to appear in court, according to court records.

The mother died in August and Baird filed a probate petition in 2nd District Court to become the estate’s personal representative. The petition has not been acted upon by the court.

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