Court-appointed guardian faces charges of stealing from clients

She was appointed by Family Court to help those who couldn’t help themselves.

Instead, Las Vegas police said Patience Bristol used her position as a private protective guardian to steal nearly $150,000 in assets and another $50,000 worth of jewelry from her clients.

Bristol, 38, worked for a local company that provided contract money management services to clients of Family Court. She was arrested Monday and charged with 15 counts in connection to the crimes, police said.

Since 2008, Bristol has served as a fiduciary, or someone who handles another’s assets, to at least four elderly or dependent wards, two of whom were a married couple.

Bristol was appointed as a private guardian to the couple by the Family Division of Clark County District Court on March 4 after the 64-year-old wife, who was her husband’s primary caregiver, suffered a stroke.

On March 20, Bristol closed down the couple’s bank accounts and transferred all the assets, which exceeded $240,000, to a new account at a separate bank where she was the sole signer, according to police reports.

Between then and June 11, Bristol removed over $150,000 from the account, of which about $50,000 was used to actually benefit the couple. Police said Bristol embezzled the other $102,000.

The two weren’t Bristol’s only victims, according to police.

In 2008, Bristol was appointed as the private professional guardian of a 50-year-old woman who, due to medical circumstances, was unable to manage her financial affairs. Police said Bristol pawned nearly $50,000 worth of the woman’s jewelry and stole over $5,000 from the woman’s bank account before being removed as guardian in April 2013.

In 2010, Bristol became the appointed guardian of a 55-year-old man who could no longer manage his finances due to medical conditions.

Bristol closed down the man’s bank account and transferred the funds to a newly-opened account in which she was the sole signer. Over the next three months, police said she embezzled nearly $40,000 from the man’s account and stole over a dozen pieces of jewelry, which police did not provide a value for.

Police began investigating Bristol in May after a referral was made to the Clark County public guardian’s office and the Metropolitan Police Department about the welfare of the four wards. Police were able to track Bristol’s spending and discover that she was using the money to pay her own mortgage and credit card payments, as well as rent for a person unrelated to the wards.

Bristol told police during an interview in July she took the wards’ assets to pay for her mortgage and other bills, personal expenses, and her self-admitted gambling problem. According to police reports, Bristol couldn’t tell detectives how much she spent gambling. She also admitted to police that she gave money to her unemployed boyfriend.

Bristol faces three counts of obtaining money under false pretenses and four counts of exploitation of a vulnerable person. Bristol was also charged with eight counts of burglary in connection to the selling of stolen goods, according to police reports.

Bristol is scheduled to be in court Wednesday at 8 a.m.

Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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