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Trial scheduled for Monday

by Sharon Carter

A Gardnerville couple go on trial Monday, each charged with eight felonies in connection with the disappearance of nearly $180,000 in savings and assets of a 94-year-old woman in their care.

Terry Lee and Janis Elaine Foley each pleaded innocent to a felony charge of exploiting the elderly and seven felony counts of grand theft.

The trial begins Monday before District Judge David Gamble.

Gamble ruled last Tuesday to suppress personal bank records of the Foleys, saying the use of some of that information might be an invasion of the Foleys’ right to privacy.

Court records say Janis Foley became a trustee for a living trust belonging to Florence Olsen, 94, in October 1989. Olsen was a good friend of Foley’s adoptive mother, who had managed the trust for several months after the death of Olsen’s son, but became too ill to continue.

At the time Foley assumed trusteeship, records state, Olsen had a $110,000 stock portfolio, about $70,000 equity in her home in the Sacramento area and a monthly income of $1,260.

By March 1995, when she moved out of the Foleys’ Gardnerville home and into a Dayton retirement center, Olsen had $1,000 left in assets.

According to records, Olsen signed a durable power of attorney giving Janis Foley power to invest, sell and trade property, make gifts and handle other proceedings related to the trust when she took over as the estate’s trustee.

The Foleys told sheriff’s investigators Olsen bequeathed her jewelry, fine china, a silver service and other household goods to Janis Foley’s adoptive mother.

But, investigator Roger Wheeler wrote in his report, “the trend of the Foleys’ records indicates they used Olsen’s money as if it

was theirs and did not keep track of it until Olsen contacted an attorney.”

In all, Wheeler’s investigation of the Foleys alleged 73 incidents of grand larceny, 20 of petty larceny, 93 of exploiting the elderly and 53 occurrences of money laundering.

Wheeler recommended seeking $179,606.80 in restitution from the Foleys, which he said was the total amount of unauthorized expenditures he documented made by Janis Foley. Terry Foley, a former Oakland, Calif. police officer, was not a trustee of Olsen’s estate. But because he allegedly aided or abetted and benefited from the crimes for which Janis Foley stands accused, he faces the same charges as his wife.

Additionally, Janis Foley allegedly attempted to have Olsen declared incompetent, but a psychological evaluation concluded she was fine.

Olsen, a survivor of the 8.3-magnitude, 1906 San Francisco earthquake, spends much of her time doing hand work, knitting, crocheting and making dolls.

She has said when the Foleys expropriated her personal property along with her money, they took much of her family’s history.

“I don’t want to jeopardize my case,” Florence Olsen said Thursday, “but I will say it’s so frustrating to save all your life and then find out it’s all gone. I’m glad the trial’s Monday, I’ve been waiting three years for it.”

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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