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Federal Way man accused of depleting sick elderly mother's finances

A Federal Way man is accused of first-degree theft in the depletion of his sick elderly mother's finances.

The King County Prosecutor's Office filed charges against Barry Brown, 63, last week. His arraignment is set for May 13.

Dottie Brown, 93, suffered a stroke in February 2006 and was admitted to St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way; she also suffered from aphasia and severe dementia, documents said.

Before her hospital admission, she executed a durable power of attorney, naming her son Barry Brown as her attorney-in-fact, documents said. This allowed Barry Brown to act on his mother's behalf upon her disability or incompetence.

The charging documents said Barry Brown spent her money on trips to Nevada, his own health insurance and other personal expenses. Meanwhile, Dottie Brown was evicted in 2007 from a Federal Way nursing home because her son didn't pay the bill, racking up a $37,000 debt over six months, documents said. She was transferred to a facility in Gig Harbor because it was the nearest nursing home that would accept Medicaid patients, documents said.

On Feb. 1, 2006, Barry Brown called a bank to inquire about obtaining the equity in his mother's condominium through a reverse mortgage, documents said. Two weeks later, he and his girlfriend took Dottie Brown to a notary public where she signed the power of attorney, documents said. The next day, he presented the power of attorney to the bank and obtained the credit counseling himself, documents said. In May 2006, Barry Brown withdrew almost $200,000 through the reverse mortgage, documents said.

Following his mother's stroke, Barry Brown used his mother's credit cards and wrote checks from her bank accounts, documents said. Between Feb. 22 and Aug. 19, 2006, nearly $12,500 in charges were made to her credit cards, documents said.

Her Federal Way condominium, which was paid in full, had been mortgaged to the limit by her son, documents said. A judgment was entered against Barry Brown in January 2009 for $220,880 plus interest; he did not appeal and none of the judgment has been collected, the documents said.

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