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Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 6:38 am | Fog/Mist 43º


Woman Accused of Abusing, Bilking Elderly Dementia Patient

Rosemary Rebekah Baugh

A Santa Barbara woman was jailed on a variety of felony charges Thursday after she allegedly abused and stole large sums of money from an 80-year-old city resident with dementia, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Rosemary Rebekah Baugh, 57, was arrested at her State Street home, culminating an 11-month investigation, said Sgt. Riley Harwood.

She was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of grand theft, financial elder abuse, and elder neglect, with bail set at $650,000, Harwood said.

The investigation began after relatives of the victim, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, came to Santa Barbara in December 2012.

"They found him malnourished, filthy, and living in squalor," Harwood said.

Baugh is a longtime acquaintance of the victim, whose name was not released, and he had at times given her gifts of cash to help with her rent and expenses, Harwood said.

After the death of the victim's only local relative, Baugh assumed the role of caregiver for him.

"Since September 2011, following the victim’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and the worsening of his dementia, Baugh took over $650,000 of the victim’s money," Harwood said. "Additionally, during this period the victim suspiciously purchased the mobile home in which Baugh took residence, and added Baugh as a joint account holder on bank accounts.

"Investigation showed that during this time, Baugh shopped heavily online, often making multiple purchases per day from QVC and the Home Shopping Network, and paid for online psychic services."

When the victim’s family discovered this situation and attempted to preserve the victim’s assets, Baugh took the victim to the Santa Barbara County Courthouse on January 3, 2013, and married him, Harwood said.

She filed for divorce two-weeks later, seeking spousal support of $10,000 per month, Harwood said.

"The victim’s family has now successfully obtained a conservatorship for the victim, and is in the process of annulling the marriage," he added. 

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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