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Las Vegas police lieutenant’s elderly exploitation trial starts

Updated September 10, 2019 - 6:52 pm

A Metropolitan Police Department lieutenant deceived an elderly couple out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, prosecutors told jurors Tuesday at the start of the officer’s criminal trial.

The allegations against James Melton, 52, stretch from December 2010 to May 2017. The 13 counts include elderly exploitation, theft, grand larceny auto and perjury.

Prosecutors have said that Melton hired April Parks, the owner of A Private Professional Guardian LLC; her office manager, Mark Simmons; and attorney Noel Simpson to exploit an elderly couple.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Jay P. Raman explained to the jury during opening statements that others involved, including April Parks, had pleaded guilty and were given lengthy prisons sentences in separate cases.

“This case is about what James Melton did, including using others to get what he wanted,” Raman told jurors. “He may attempt to blame others for his actions. But the buck stops with James Melton.”

This year, District Judge Tierra Jones, who is overseeing Melton’s trial, ordered Parks to serve 16 to 40 years behind bars for stealing from elderly victims for whom she was supposed to care. Simmons and Parks’ husband, Gary Taylor, also were given prison time.

Prosecutors have alleged that Melton hired Parks, Simmons and Simpson to act as guardian for Beverly Flaherty, 87, and obtain control of more than $700,000 in assets from her and her husband, 84-year-old Jerome Flaherty.

Melton, who most recently worked in Metro’s Homeland Security division, has been on unpaid suspension since July 2017, when authorities launched the investigation.

His attorney, Josh Tomsheck, did not give an opening statement but has said publicly that Melton “violated no law and committed no crime.”

Melton, Parks, and Simmons were accused of using Simpson’s services to file false and misleading legal papers with the court in order to obtain guardianship and name Melton as the successor trustee of Beverly Flaherty’s family trust.

Simpson has cooperated with prosecutors, pleading guilty in November to one count of elderly exploitation, and is expected to testify at Melton’s trial.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Find @randompoker on Twitter.

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