News

Two guilty, two in court for elder fraud in Pleasanton

$500,000 stolen in one case; senior signs over home in 2nd case

With one recent Pleasanton case of senior abuse closed, another is continuing to wend its way through the court system.

On July 12, an Auburn woman was allowed to go free after serving 10 months in jail for working with her husband to steal nearly half a million dollars from his 86-year-old mother.

A jury in Hayward found D'Arsi Champlin, 48, guilty of 11 felonies: five counts of grand theft, five counts of theft from an elder, and one count of receiving stolen property.

Prosecutor Connie Campbell said Champlin also agreed to sell the house in her name, which court documents say was largely paid for with money from the victim. That could bring the victim about $160,000 when the remaining mortgage is paid off.

Earlier, the victim's son was sentenced to 60 months in prison for 12 felonies. Campbell said Mark Champlin, 61, continued to deny his guilt and showed no remorse.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

Champlin was supposed to pay his mother's bills, which were chiefly her room and board, some small necessities, doctor co-pays and prescriptions.

Instead, a police report said, he used the account as his own, renting cars, paying for a vacation, withdrawing cash and paying down the principle on his wife's home. He also paid $1,600 a month for his medical insurance and bought his mother gifts using her own money, the report said.

He now faces a restitution hearing on Aug. 29.

The victim is a resident of Eden Villa Assisted Living on Mohr Avenue, where she's lived for the last five years due to mobility issues.

That case was relatively straightforward because the victim was "sharp and mentally alert," according to the report.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

The other case, involving the owner of a home on Neal Street, is more complicated because the victim "had difficulty maintaining a linear conversation and could not articulately describe what she wanted done with her assets when she died," a police report said.

Matthew Messier, 37, a former captain in the Pinole Police Department, was charged with three counts of attempted grand theft, four counts of elder abuse, one count of forgery, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of registering a fraudulent document, and a count of practicing law without a license.

His wife, Elizabeth Regalado, was charged with the same crimes.

The victim was 82 when the pair, her neighbors, were arrested. Messier drafted documents using an online service that included a quitclaim deed to the woman's home, power of attorney naming himself as trustee and sole beneficiary when she dies.

The woman's home is worth between $500,000 and $700,000; she also has safe deposit boxes containing savings bonds, cash and gold worth more than $50,000.

The case came to light through Adult Protective Services. An examination showed the victim is incapable of making financial decisions for herself.

In Pleasanton Superior Court on Monday, Sandy Laffins, a notary public, testified she met with Messier and the victim three times. Laffins told the court the victim appeared competent and recognized her when they met up at Raley's, where the victim was accompanied by Regalado.

Laffins also testified that the victim read all the documents carefully, and that, as a notary, she only reads the first page of each document.

The documents showed the home was going to Messier as beneficiary, although it said it would be entered into the National Registry of Historic Places, which the woman apparently interpreted as meaning it would be used as a historic site. She had told others she wanted to leave the home either to the city of Pleasanton or the state of California.

The police report says the victim had "impaired problem solving and reasoning skills." In a previous hearing, the woman appeared confused about what she had signed and was unable to name Messier.

Messier and Regalado filed for bankruptcy in 2010, listing $1,500 in household goods, although they told police investigator Keith Batt they had about $4,000 worth of antiques and collectibles.

The case was continued to Aug. 19, with Batt set to testify.

A front row seat to local high school sports.

Check out our new newsletter, the Playbook.

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Two guilty, two in court for elder fraud in Pleasanton

$500,000 stolen in one case; senior signs over home in 2nd case

by Glenn Wohltmann / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Jul 18, 2013, 6:51 am
Updated: Sat, Jul 20, 2013, 8:57 am

With one recent Pleasanton case of senior abuse closed, another is continuing to wend its way through the court system.

On July 12, an Auburn woman was allowed to go free after serving 10 months in jail for working with her husband to steal nearly half a million dollars from his 86-year-old mother.

A jury in Hayward found D'Arsi Champlin, 48, guilty of 11 felonies: five counts of grand theft, five counts of theft from an elder, and one count of receiving stolen property.

Prosecutor Connie Campbell said Champlin also agreed to sell the house in her name, which court documents say was largely paid for with money from the victim. That could bring the victim about $160,000 when the remaining mortgage is paid off.

Earlier, the victim's son was sentenced to 60 months in prison for 12 felonies. Campbell said Mark Champlin, 61, continued to deny his guilt and showed no remorse.

Champlin was supposed to pay his mother's bills, which were chiefly her room and board, some small necessities, doctor co-pays and prescriptions.

Instead, a police report said, he used the account as his own, renting cars, paying for a vacation, withdrawing cash and paying down the principle on his wife's home. He also paid $1,600 a month for his medical insurance and bought his mother gifts using her own money, the report said.

He now faces a restitution hearing on Aug. 29.

The victim is a resident of Eden Villa Assisted Living on Mohr Avenue, where she's lived for the last five years due to mobility issues.

That case was relatively straightforward because the victim was "sharp and mentally alert," according to the report.

The other case, involving the owner of a home on Neal Street, is more complicated because the victim "had difficulty maintaining a linear conversation and could not articulately describe what she wanted done with her assets when she died," a police report said.

Matthew Messier, 37, a former captain in the Pinole Police Department, was charged with three counts of attempted grand theft, four counts of elder abuse, one count of forgery, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of registering a fraudulent document, and a count of practicing law without a license.

His wife, Elizabeth Regalado, was charged with the same crimes.

The victim was 82 when the pair, her neighbors, were arrested. Messier drafted documents using an online service that included a quitclaim deed to the woman's home, power of attorney naming himself as trustee and sole beneficiary when she dies.

The woman's home is worth between $500,000 and $700,000; she also has safe deposit boxes containing savings bonds, cash and gold worth more than $50,000.

The case came to light through Adult Protective Services. An examination showed the victim is incapable of making financial decisions for herself.

In Pleasanton Superior Court on Monday, Sandy Laffins, a notary public, testified she met with Messier and the victim three times. Laffins told the court the victim appeared competent and recognized her when they met up at Raley's, where the victim was accompanied by Regalado.

Laffins also testified that the victim read all the documents carefully, and that, as a notary, she only reads the first page of each document.

The documents showed the home was going to Messier as beneficiary, although it said it would be entered into the National Registry of Historic Places, which the woman apparently interpreted as meaning it would be used as a historic site. She had told others she wanted to leave the home either to the city of Pleasanton or the state of California.

The police report says the victim had "impaired problem solving and reasoning skills." In a previous hearing, the woman appeared confused about what she had signed and was unable to name Messier.

Messier and Regalado filed for bankruptcy in 2010, listing $1,500 in household goods, although they told police investigator Keith Batt they had about $4,000 worth of antiques and collectibles.

The case was continued to Aug. 19, with Batt set to testify.

Comments

Mike
Highland Oaks
on Jul 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm
Mike, Highland Oaks
on Jul 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm
Mary
Carlton Oaks
on Jul 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm
Mary, Carlton Oaks
on Jul 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm

What? Ten months? Are you kidding me?


Vincent
Canyon Creek
on Jul 22, 2013 at 10:45 am
Vincent, Canyon Creek
on Jul 22, 2013 at 10:45 am

Ten years would be more appropriate.


Pleasanton Resident
Bonde Ranch
on Jul 22, 2013 at 11:30 am
Pleasanton Resident, Bonde Ranch
on Jul 22, 2013 at 11:30 am

Messier is scum. He declared bankruptcy, yet was the 2nd highest paid employee for the city of Pinole. His wife dyed her hair platinum blond, hoping to confuse the victim in court. I hope these people are found guilty, and get the maximum sentence. They really preyed on this woman. And to think, Messier was a cop. What a dirtbag.


Concerned Citizen
Downtown
on Jul 24, 2013 at 8:44 am
Concerned Citizen, Downtown
on Jul 24, 2013 at 8:44 am

Yes, I agree, Messier is complete SCUM! He met his victim for the first time in January 2012. By March of that year (2 months after meeting her), he had created a trust that she was coerced into signing that basically gave everything to Matt and his wife when she dies. It’s my understanding that she clearly expressed many times to her friends her wishes to donate the property to the City of Pleasanton (or state) to keep as a “museum” when she dies.
And yes, I did hear that his wife “Betsy” (Elizabeth Regalado) did dye her hair stark blond. However, I would probably do the same thing if everyone hated me too. She is also SCUM!

Regarding Messier’s salary, he actually earned the top salary in 2012. On June 24, 2013, the Pinole-Hercules Patch published an article called “The Highest Paid Employees At City Hall In Hercules and Pinole”. In that article, it showed that Matthew Messier (Pinole Police Commander) had the highest income in 2012 for Pinole of $235,353. Not too shabby given that Matt was put on leave from the Pinole Police department in July/August 2012 and resigned in October/November 2012 as a result of his “extracurricular activity”. So basically, he earned $235K for ½ year of work. And he was committing this “alleged” crime while he was still employed.

Let’s hope these two (especially Messier) go to prison for a long time. He’s an ex-cop and won’t do too well in prison. I would absolutely hate to be in his (or her) shoes right now. Then again, I would never try and rip off an 83-year old woman either. I honestly don't know how they sleep at night.



dazed and confused
another community
on Jan 21, 2015 at 6:59 pm
dazed and confused, another community
on Jan 21, 2015 at 6:59 pm

I was really shocked at this crime. To look at the whole picture, this ex-poiceman worked for the city of pinole. What about the county seat? Martinez? Does not all authorization of properties come from Martinez? Futhermore, how did this person get infomation for Housing when working for the Police department? How many other people are involved in this network? Besides, no one looked in the city of Martinez for this person name or his wife or their family members. Finally, Is this ex-policeman using the money he allegedly scammed from the elderly to free himself? As a famous musician stated: "What's going On"...


john doe
another community
on Mar 31, 2015 at 8:23 pm
john doe, another community
on Mar 31, 2015 at 8:23 pm

I went to elementary school with this Messier. One of the nicest guys you would ever meet. HIs father was a LT. for the Sunnyvale PD. Messier was def. not raised this way. Tragic. Pure greed. Over 235k a year and its still not enough!!!


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.