LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – A veteran Las Vegas Metro police lieutenant and three others were arrested Wednesday on charges the group allegedly bilked an elderly couple out of more than $700,000, according to authorities.
On Wednesday, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) Sheriff Joe Lombardo announced that the Clark County Grand Jury returned indictments against Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lieutenant James Thomas Melton, private professional guardian April Parks, her office manager Mark Simmons, and attorney Noel Palmer Simpson for elder exploitation.
As a result of an investigation into this alleged conduct, Lieutenant Melton was placed on administrative leave by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in July 2017.
According the indictment, James Thomas Melton worked with April Parks, the owner of a Private Professional Guardian, LLC, her office manager Mark Simmons, and attorney Noel Palmer Simspon to exploit an elderly couple. Melton allegedly hired Parks, Simmons and Simpson in order to act as the guardian for Beverly Flaherty to obtain control of more than $700,000 in Beverly and Jerome Flaherty’s assets.
Melton, Parks, and Simmons used the services of attorney Noel Palmer Simpson to file false and misleading legal papers with the court in order to obtain this guardianship, and name Melton as the successor trustee of Beverly Flaherty’s family trust. The indictment alleges that the defendants committed several crimes in order to carry out this exploitation, including: elder Exploitation, Theft, Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record, Grand Larceny Auto and Perjury. The alleged fraudulent acts were committed between December 2010 and May 2017.
“Protecting Nevada’s families and vulnerable populations is the over arching mission of this office, and one that I take very seriously,” said Attorney General Adam Laxalt. “Just a few short months ago after obtaining the most significant elder exploitation indictment in Nevada’s history, my office has once again teamed up with our local law enforcement partners to ensure justice is served against those seeking to exploit our elderly. These targeted crimes strike at the very heart of our tight-knit communities, and will be pursued aggressively by my office,” Laxalt added.
Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez issued arrest warrants for all four defendants. April Parks and Mark Simmons remain in custody in the Clark County Detention Center on previous charges. Lieutenant Melton voluntarily turned himself in earlier Tuesday, and Noel Palmer Simpson is expected to turn herself voluntarily.
Below is a description of the individual charges:
*James Thomas Melton: Two counts Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), one count Theft (category B), one count Theft (category C), seven counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C), one count Grand Larceny Auto (category C), two counts Perjury (category D).
*April Parks: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), two counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C).
*Mark Simmons: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), two counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C).
*Noel Palmer Simpson: One count Exploitation of an Older Person (category B), one count Theft (category C), eight counts Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C), one county Perjury (category D).
In March of LAST year, April Parsk, Mark Simmons and Noel Palmer Simpson were named in a 270-count indictment related to guardianship exploitation. Parks was indicted on more than 200 felony charges for similar conduct, including racketeering, theft, exploitation of an older person, offering false instrument for filing or record, and perjury.
Her office manager, Mark Simmons, was indicted on more than 130 felonies, and her attorney Noel Palmer Simpson was implicated in that case and indicted on two charges. A fourth defendant, Gary Neal Taylor, was indicted for seven felonies. That case is currently set for trial in May 2018.
An indictment is merely a charging document; every defendant is preseumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
This case was jointly investigated by the Office of the Nevada Attorney General and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD). Prosecutors form the Office of the Nevada Attorney General and the Clark County District Attorney’s Office are prosecuting this case.