JAY, Okla. – An arrest warrant was issued for an Arkansas woman accused of creating nearly 200 fraudulent financial transactions and pawning the victim’s dead wife’s jewelry.
Michelle L. Medina, 63, of Tontitown, is charged with exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult. A $10,000 outstanding warrant was issued for her arrest in connection to stealing money from Leon Battiest, of Colcord and taking out fraudulent loans in his name, court records show.
The alleged financial problems came to light when Battiest discovered a mortgage payment hadn’t been made in a year and a motorhome loan was in default.
Those two payments were to be automatically drafted from Battiest’s bank accounts, the arrest affidavit states.
Battiest told then Delaware County Sheriff’s Capt. Gail Wells in 2019 he never gave Medina permission to sell any of his property or sign his name on any documents.
Medina referred to herself as Battiest’s girlfriend and is accused of creating a fraudulent Durable Power of Attorney for Battiest’s finances, according to an arrest affidavit.
The Arkansas woman denied having a gambling problem or a drug problem when questioned by Wells.
A breakdown of the alleged theft:
- Grand Savings Bank (158 forged or fraudulent transactions between December 2018 to August 2019) $37,869.80
- Bank of Oklahoma loan, $38,321.50
- Bank of Oklahoma (15 forged transactions between Sept. 2917 to June 2018) $29,700
- Forgery and altering Delaware County Tax documents and checks $6,652
- Fraudulent loan from Midland Credit $6,000
- Tontitown, Arkansas Centennial Bank $4,134.67
- Larceny of jewelry $2,900
- Power of Attorney forgery $2,896.79
- Fraudulent CITI credit card $2,536.96
- Fraudulent loan from Regional Finance $1,200
Total Loss $139,115.18
“I just got in over my head. When I told one lie, I had to tell another and a thousand more. I’m not a casino junkie and I don’t do drugs,” Medina told Wells, according to an arrest affidavit.
Medina sent a letter to Battiest pleading for him not to press charges.
“I won’t be able to start paying for years. I know I deserve prison for what I’ve done but please I am begging you not to press charges. Prison will be the end of me and I know I deserve that. I know anything I say you won’t believe me but I promise I will pay you back every bit of what I owe you. I won’t bother you other than to mail you payments. Please give me a chance to show I will pay this back as fast as I can. I really am sorry for everything Leon. I still haven’t got anything from dad’s retirement.”Letter from Medina to Battiest
Medina is accused of emptying a safety deposit box that contained jewelry belonging to Battiest’s deceased wife and pawning them at pawn shops in Arkansas.