Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Humberta Goncalves-Babbit (age 62), of Bristol, RI, pleaded nolo contendere today before Superior Court Justice Kristin Rodgers to one count of misappropriation over $1,000 for stealing more than $25,000 from an elderly man. Under the terms of the plea, the defendant was sentenced to eight years suspended with probation and, as a condition of the plea, ordered to pay $26,066.34 in restitution in advance of today's proceedings.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that between June 19, 2012 and January 11, 2014, the defendant, a licensed attorney who served as durable power of attorney for a 91-year-old man that was living at a convalescent facility in Warren, failed to properly perform her duties by not paying certain living expenses for the victim.
The Alliance for Better Long Term Care filed a complaint with Rhode Island Judiciary Disciplinary Committee. After an investigation, Chief Disciplinary Counsel David Curtin suspended the defendant's license to practice law in Rhode Island and turned the case over to the Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Unit.
"It is despicable for a person who is an officer of the court to exploit and steal from the person they are appointed to take care of," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "Financial elder exploitation is among the fastest growing form of abuse towards seniors, and we need to ensure that those we entrust with the care of an elder person has only their best interest at heart, not to line their own pockets."
Rhode Island State Police Detective Nicholas Rivello and Investigator Lori Tellier led the investigation. Special Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Elder Abuse Unit Diane Daigle prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.