UPDATE MARCH 09: April Parks was arrested by local police in East Goshen Township, PA.
The Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department charged Parks with being a fugitive from justice and she was arraigned. Her bail was set at $500,000 dollars. Parks was remanded to Chester County Prison pending extradition to Clark County, Nevada.
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — What started with a Contact 13 investigation has led to hundreds of felony charges against four suspects for the way authorities say they treated people in their care.
This is the latest move in cases involving more than 150 victims and nearly $560,000 in stolen money.
It’s the most significant guardianship exploitation indictment in Nevada’s history — so says Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt in what authorities hope will wipe out a long-standing crime wave in our state.
Cheers and fist pumps erupted in the Regional Justice Center lobby from a crowd of people who haven’t had much to celebrate over the last few years.
On Wednesday, they went from victim to victor as April Parks, the woman who they say stole everything from their loved ones, was indicted.
“Today, law enforcement sends a clear message to those who take advantage of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson.
“I can’t imagine a class of people more susceptible to criminals than wards of a court,” said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson
Contact 13 first exposed April Lynn Parks in early 2015 when she told Darcy Spears, “I do it because I love it,” in reference to her work as a private, professional guardian.
Guardians are appointed by the court to protect and serve their wards. They’re entrusted with every aspect of a person’s life, including their health care and their money.
“I can’t imagine a class of people more susceptible to criminals than wards of a court,” said Wolfson.
Parks, her husband Gary Taylor, her attorney Noel Palmer Simpson and her office manager Mark Simmons are together facing 270 felony counts of perjury, racketeering, filing false records, theft and exploitation.
The charges involve more than 150 victims who’ve lost more than half a million dollars.
Authorities say Parks and her co-defendants used a position of trust and authority to prey on disabled, vulnerable people ranging in age from 40 to 90, and systematically bilk them out of their life savings.
“I’ve never been so happy in my life! All the thousands of hours and dollars I put into this was not in vain,” said Elizabeth Indig, whose mother was one of Parks’ wards.
So were Julie Belshe’s parents — Rudy and Rennie North. Contact 13 broke their story in February 2015.
As for Wednesday’s indictments, Julie Belshe daughter of Parks’ victims Rudy & Rennie North, says, “It restored my faith in the people, in the justice system…”
“When I reached out to you I was very traumatized,” said Belshe. “I didn’t know what to do!”
As for Wednesday’s indictments, Belshe says, “It restored my faith in the people, in the justice system — that there are good people in our system that are working and they’re on our side — the citizens’ side. Because you start to think, who’s going to believe me? Because you tell these stories and they’re unbelievable!”
“I really think this is going to send a very strong message to the other guardians and the attorneys and the judges who aided and abetted her in this,” said Indig. “And I think maybe Nevada will be clean of this crime and people can move here and retire without fear of losing everything.”
Contact 13 will have more on the Family Court system’s role in all this as the report continues on Thursday.
As of late Wednesday afternoon, all four defendants had been arrested in law enforcement actions across the country.
April Parks was arrested by local police in East Goshen Township, PA.
The Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department charged Parks with being a fugitive from justice and she was arraigned. Her bail was set at $500,000.00 dollars. Parks was remanded to Chester County Prison pending extradition to Clark County, Nevada.