Attorney General Laxalt Announces Elder Exploitation Guardianship Abuse Prosecution in Northern Nevada

July 12, 2016

Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced that Wade Fordin, 53, of Elko County, was arrested on one count of exploitation of an older person and one count of theft, both category “B” felonies. The alleged crimes were committed between February 2012 and November 2013.

    The State of Nevada v. Fordin criminal complaint follows the Attorney General’s Office’s first ever guardianship abuse conviction in State of Nevada v. Wendy Rudder. The defendant in that case, providing public guardian services pursuant to a contract with Lincoln County, pleaded guilty to one count of misconduct of a public officer related to unauthorized withdrawals from a ward’s guardianship account. Defendant Rudder was sentenced in the spring of 2015.

      “Working on ways to protect the most vulnerable are a priority for me,” said Laxalt. “These prosecutions are firsts for the Attorney General’s Office and are added to the first ever human trafficking conviction and illegal Internet gaming operator conviction my prosecutors obtained last year. I look forward to achieving future firsts and continued convictions with this hardworking team.”

        According to the criminal complaint, Fordin was appointed as the permanent guardian of his 80-year-old mother Helen Mae Fordin and her estate, after it was determined that she was unable to care for herself. As a guardian, Fordin was entrusted funds for the limited purpose of providing for her care. However, Fordin subsequently converted more than $6,000 of her funds for his own personal use.

          Laxalt further stated, “This case was referred to my Office from Elko County during my third Law Enforcement Summit in February, and demonstrates the importance of collaborative efforts with law enforcement. My prosecutors will continue to partner with local law enforcement and district attorneys to deter the exploitation of vulnerable populations, and to ensure our elderly are treated with respect and dignity-- not victimized.”

            This latest arrest comes only a week after the Nevada Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee unanimously approved AG Laxalt’s request to combat increasing financial fraud within the State using non-taxpayer settlement funds awarded to his Office. AG Laxalt’s request includes the allocation of more than $400,000 of non-taxpayer settlement funds to the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada in order to boost their capacity to fight civil guardianship exploitation and abuse.

              A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

                This case is being prosecuted by the Office of the Nevada Attorney General’s Fraud Unit. To view the filed criminal complaint for Wade Fordin, click here.


                  FORDIN, WADE 

                  (Photo courtesy of the Elko County Sheriff’s Office)