Thompson Falls man convicted of elder abuse

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SUPERIOR — A Thompson Falls man was convicted of neglecting an elderly man with dementia and illegally gaining ownership of his money and property.

After a three-day trial, a Mineral County jury found Daryl Enos Strang guilty on Jan. 15 of abusing or neglecting a victim and exploitation of an elderly person.

Prosecutors alleged Strang obtained power of attorney from Ben Poat and used it to take Poat’s 103-acre ranch, two Jeeps and a limited edition Harley Davidson motorcycle via quit claim deed and drain $142,000 from his bank account over the course of a year.

District Judge Ed McLean allowed Strang to remain free on a $50,000 bond until his March 9 sentencing.

One of Poat’s sisters told Mineral County authorities in September 2013 that she believed Strang was exploiting her brother. A social worker who visited Poat’s house found he had been left alone with no other food except milk and peanut butter.

In November 2013, a judge invalidated a 2012 will that left Poat’s estate to Strang, ordered the return of Poat’s personal property and revoked Strang’s power of attorney.

Attorney Lance Jasper, who was appointed as Poat’s guardian, said he was able to find someone to buy Poat’s ranch and allow him to live there until he died of cancer in August 2014 at 84. Jasper said the purchase price helped pay for Poat’s end-of-life care.

“His one wish was to die in his own house and we were able to make that happen,” Jasper said.

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