ELKO – An Spring Creek man accused of stealing from his elderly mother was sentenced to 60 days house arrest Monday in Elko District Court.
Wade E. Fordin, 54, of Spring Creek pleaded guilty before Judge Al Kacin to one count of conspiracy to commit exploitation of an older person and one count of conspiracy to commit theft, both gross misdemeanors.
He was given a suspended sentence of 364 days in jail for each count concurrently, required to pay $6,183.48 restitution to the Elko County Public Guardian, and was placed on probation for three years.
Kacin further sentenced Fordin to 60 days of house arrest to be served “in one lump period.”
Senior Deputy Attorney General Eric Nickel appeared by phone during the sentencing hearing before Judge Al Kacin, and said the state agreed with the Division of Parole and Probation to grant Fordin probation and have him pay restitution.
Because of Fordin’s age and lack of criminal history the state agreed “probation was the best alternative,” Nickel said.
Attorney David Lockie also asked for the probation, explaining that Fordin only had one misdemeanor on his record and no felonies. He added that Fordin was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and had “a boatload” of about 16 prescribed medications that would he would have to bring with him if he were incarcerated.
When Fordin was asked by Kacin to make a statement on his behalf, Fordin declined.
Fordin was arrested Sept. 11, 2016 on suspicion of converting more than $6,000 for his personal use from his 80-year-old mother, Helen Mae Fordin. He was charged with one count of exploitation of an older person and one count of theft, both category B felonies.
He pleaded guilty on Nov. 6 in a plea agreement that reduced the charges from felonies to misdemeanors.
According to court documents, Fordin was appointed as his mother’s permanent guardian over her and her estate after it was determined she was unable to care for herself.
The case was filed to the Attorney General’s office by Public Guardian Kathy Jones. She spoke at the sentencing hearing on behalf of Helen Fordin, who died July 29, 2015.
“It’s been four years since the start of the investigation into Mr. Fordin’s exploitation of his mother,” Jones said, describing how Fordin preyed on the “frailty, old age and illness of his own mother.”
Jones went on to explain how Fordin was appointed guardian of his mother’s estate; however, his mother lived her final days at Highland Manor dependent on the kindness of others.
“I feel sorry for you because you weren’t able to walk into Highland Manor and hold your head up knowing that you are taking care of your mother. Instead, other people had to buy your mother’s clothes, slippers, snacks and Christmas presents,” Jones said.
“The trust his mother, Highland Manor and the court gave to him was selfishly exploited by Wade Fordin,” Jones said.
Upon handing down the sentence, Kacin said the court recognized the fact Fordin has “very little criminal history,” but that if Fordin were to have had an extensive criminal history, the sentence would have been different, regardless of his medical condition and “boatload of medications.”
“I expect you to follow the rules of your probation very well,” Kacin told Fordin.
Kacin added that he agreed with Jones that the crime “was a terrible offense of exploitation.”
“Ms. Jones said it eloquently, and I can’t say more except that I agree with her.”