A Chesapeake, Virginia city council member was indicted on Tuesday for alleged financial exploitation of two elderly relatives, one of whom had Alzheimer’s disease, according to reports.
WAVY-TV in Norfolk reported that a grand jury indicted Amanda Newins, an attorney practicing in the Commonwealth, with a felony financial crime.
Shirley Davis, Newins’ great aunt, alleges in a lawsuit filed in Chesapeake Circuit Court that Newins took advantage of her and Newins’ great uncle Bobby Davis, the latter of whom had advanced Alzheimer’s disease, both emotionally and financially.
The Davis’s moved in with the Newins in 2020, and they were required to pay $1,000 a month in rent.
According to the allegations, the Newins also withheld the Davis’s cell phones, hearing aids and glasses, and would not allow her uncle to get up from the dinner table until he finished his dinner. The elderly couple was in their 80s, the claims allege, and were told to clean up waste from two dogs and four cats.
Newins had power of attorney, as well, the lawsuit notes, which she used to access bank accounts and claimed Newins gifted the couple’s $330,000 home to herself.
Shirley Davis is seeking $850,000, and if convicted, Newins could spend up to 20 years in prison and be removed from city council.
WAVY also reported that Newins’ indictment does not necessarily mean losing her right to practice law, but a conviction could, if the state bar determines the crime inhibits their ability to practice law.
Newins’ attorney, Kristin Paulding, did not immediately respond to inquiries about the case.
Paulding sent a statement to WAVY-TV on Tuesday.
“We are disappointed that the Commonwealth has decided to charge Amanda with this offense,” the statement read. “Amanda was practically raised by her uncle and the allegation that she financially exploited him, is absolutely untrue. We look forward to the time when Amanda can finally tell her story.”
The statement continues to say that the indictment comes on the heels of a civil lawsuit filed by her family members weeks before the election in November, when Newins was elected to City Council. The lawsuit was filed by the same individuals who filed criminal charges, according to Paulding’s statement.
“We intend to diligently fight this criminal charge and show that Amanda’s actions were appropriate and in no way rise to the level of financial exploitation,” the attorney told WAVY.