Byrd sentenced to 15 years for theft by conversion and elder exploitation

Published 5:10 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

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Early this January, the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office began investigating reports of elder exploitation and theft by conversion after being contacted by the then-74-year-old victim’s attorney. According to the victim, their granddaughter, Angel Byrd, had signed them out of a medical rehab nursing facility after a 2021 car accident; Byrd reportedly did this against medical advice. After this, the victim began living with Byrd, and during the following months, received a $400,000 settlement regarding the 2021 accident. According to the state, this money was deposited into a fraudulent bank account, with both Byrd and the victim listed on it. Afterwards, Byrd began withdrawing money from the account and purchased lavish items, including two houses in her name, furniture, renting a sports car, and also giving monetary gifts to friends. The victim reportedly did not receive anything from these purchases, and was left in a rental property while Byrd moved into her new homes. The victim was finally aided by family members aware of the situation. At some point, Byrd had fraudulently established a financial power of attorney over the victim, which was subsequently revoked, though she continued to use and abuse the settlement money.

Byrd’s trial began earlier this week. She testified on cross-examination that she did forge the victim’s name on documents, but also stated that all purchases were made at the victim’s request, a claim refuted by the victim’s and family’s testimony.

After three days, on Thursday, November 2, 2023, Judge Lawton Heard found Byrd guilty on four counts: two counts of elder exploitation, and two counts of theft by conversion, and sentenced her to 15 years to serve in the Georgia Department of Corrections, followed by 45 years of supervised probation. She will also be required to pay a $25,000 fine. In total, $478,712.56 were granted in restitution to the victim.

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