A life insurance agent in California has been arrested in connection with four felony counts including grand theft and elder financial abuse charges. Donald Edwin Derieg, 49, of Encino, Calif., had his bail set at $520,000.
The California Department of Insurance initiated an investigation into Derieg’s relationship with a wealthy woman who was nearly 40 years older than Derieg after receiving a complaint from Adult Protective Services. nitially acting as the victim’s financial advisor at Wachovia Securities, Derieg allegedly began a personal and possibly romantic relationship with the senior. Derieg then purportedly arranged to be granted power-of-attorney, making medical and financial decisions for the woman. He also allegedly established himself as trustee for and beneficiary of her multi-million dollar estate, CDI said. Derieg was later terminated by Wachovia Securities for continuing to act as trustee of the estate, violating company policy due to this conflict of interest. After the woman died in 2007, Derieg allegedly received 55 percent of her estate, more than $1.2 million.
The woman’s family noted that her mental capabilities began to diminish between 2000 and 2001. Family members reported that the woman suffered from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and possibly dementia. CDI investigators also determined that Derieg allegedly made multiple cash withdrawals from the woman’s account for his own personal benefit.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case.
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