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Former SL man to face trial for embezzling from widow

• Aug 9, 2018 at 10:00 AM

A former Spring Lake man is facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted of stealing from one of his clients.

Gary “Duke” Haynes, 57, has been bound over for trial in Muskegon County on 14 felony counts for allegedly stealing more than $300,000 from his elderly widowed client.

The Comstock Park man is charged with one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony; one count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult $100,000 or more, a 20-year felony; eight counts of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult $1,000 or more but less than $20,000, a five-year felony; and four counts of failing to file taxes, a five-year felony.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office Elder Financial Crimes Unit charged Hayes in May. The state unit will be prosecuting the case with Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson.

A preliminary examination was held before Judge Raymond Kostrzewa on July 17 and was continued Tuesday. The alleged victim testified along with bank employees, the Michigan Department of Treasury investigator and the attorney general’s special agent assigned to the case.

Kostrzewa bound all 14 felonies over to Muskegon County Circuit Court for trial. An arraignment date in Circuit Court has not yet been set.

Case background

The alleged victim paid a fee to attend a financial planning seminar led by Haynes in 2006. The 85-year-old woman was not comfortable with computerized billing, and asked Haynes to help her pay her bills. She was recently widowed and has 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. He 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 permission.

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

In 2016, the client asked Haynes about money he was allegedly supposed to invest in an annuity in her name. She became suspicious and asked her nephew to intervene. The information was reported to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulations Securities Division, who referred the case to the attorney general’s office.

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