Casper Man Denies Financially Exploiting 92-Year-Old Woman for $165K
A former salesman at a Casper car dealership has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges alleging that he financially exploited a 92-year-old woman, obtaining over $165,000.
Taylor Cole Few, 26, is charged with felony theft, wrongful taking or disposing of property and exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Charging papers say the victim was admitted to Wyoming Medical Center in February. A social worker accessed the victim's bank statements in order to determine her ability to pay for the hospital stay, and the social worker contacted police after finding a $5,000 check written to "Taylor Sew." The social worker was concerned that the recipient of the check had taken advantage of the victim, due to her medical condition.
Using a Wyoming driver's license number written at the top of the check, a detective was able to determine that Few had been the recipient. On the memo line, the victim had written "Taylor's business."
On Feb. 15, the detective called Few, who was living in South Dakota at the time. Few claimed to have known the victim for over a year, and said that he "took care of her" during that time by driving her around to run errands and taking milk and ice cream to the victim's house.
Few worked as a car salesman at White's Mountain Motors from December 2017 through May 2017. During that time, the victim bought and traded in three different vehicles before settling on a fourth vehicle. Few was the salesman for three of those transactions and made roughly $3,000 in commission.
Few also claimed to have paid a number of the victim's bills with his own credit card. He said it was strange that the victim, while hospitalized, said she did not recognize Few's name.
When asked about the check, Few told the detective that the victim had given him the money to start up a lawn-care business called "American Lawn Men."
In late February, a lieutenant from the Yankton Police Department in South Dakota contacted Casper police concerning a suspicious Facebook post made by Few. Few was trying to sell a number of items including a laptop, surround-sound system, new shoes, an XBox 360, AR-15, clothing and tools. The lieutenant was concerned that Few may have stolen the items in Casper, moved to South Dakota and tried to get rid of them.
However, Casper police had no information indicating that the items in question may have been stolen locally.
In early March, the victim was moved into the memory care unit at Mountain Plaza Assisted Living. During the move-in process, the facility's administrator went to the victim's house to retrieve the victim's personal belongings, including banking information. In doing so, the administrator discovered a number of other checks that had been written to Taylor Few totaling over $50,000 in the previous year.
"In the span of approximately nine months, Few received over $165,000 in 13 different checks from [the victim]," the affidavit states. Another $17,000 was withdrawn by the victim during that span, with no explanation.
The victim had also spent over $47,000 on vehicle purchases in four months at the dealership where Few had worked as the salesman on three of the victim's purchases.
Few told the detective that the victim had written him a number of checks, but they were all for his business. Few said he purchased lawn equipment and had intended to repay the victim, though he had not yet begun to do so because the business had only recently opened up.
Few's banking records reportedly showed that most of his spending went to shopping establishments, restaurants and bars, insurance companies, online gaming, hotels, car payments, travel sites and airlines.
In late March, the Casper detective again contacted the Yankton police lieutenant and asked for photos of Few's vehicles and residence. Two vehicles -- a 2000 Pontiac and a 2016 Mercedes -- were parked at Few's residence, but there was no indication that Few was running a business out of his home.
The lieutenant found no active sales tax licenses for American Lawn Men or Taylor Few.
Few was free on $3,000 bond as of Friday's arraignment. Public defender Rob Oldham told District Judge Thomas Sullins that Few now works in Montana.