HomeNewsCrime & CourtsAugusta woman accused of exploitation of vulnerable adult

Augusta woman accused of exploitation of vulnerable adult

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An Augusta woman who may have been granted power of attorney and named sole beneficiary of another woman’s will has been charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

Sandy Bagwell, 80, was arrested Nov. 23. Later in the day, she was granted a $15,000 bond and released from the jail with the provision she is not to have any contact with the alleged victim.

Bagwell was already under Superior Court order not to have contact with the alleged victim, an 81-year-old resident of a memory care home facility who may be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease or both. Chief Judge Daniel J. Craig also ordered that Bagwell is not to go within 100 yards of the woman’s memory care facility, and she is to surrender to a court-appointed receiver any property belonging to the alleged victim.


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A petition on the woman’s behalf was filed in Richmond County Superior Court on Aug. 25. Attorney Andrew Tisdale filed the suit against Bagwell on behalf of the woman. The petition accuses Bagwell of fraud and breach of duty and sought the appointment of a receiver for the woman’s assets and a guardian ad litem for her personal well-being. The woman has no children and her husband died Jan. 23, 2021.

According to the petition, in May, Bagwell took the woman to a legal service organization to obtain power of attorney, and then to an attorney to draw up a new will naming Bagwell as the sole beneficiary. The petition alleges the woman lacked the mental capacity to made such judgments, and that Bagwell encouraged her to do so “to further her own selfish interests.”

Last week during Bagwell’s initial court hearing in Richmond County Magistrate Court, defense attorney Tianna Bias told the judge that Bagwell is an innocent party caught in the middle of an estate dispute.

According to a transcript of a hearing before Craig held Sept. 30, attorney James Overstreet testified that he received notice of his temporary appointment as receiver in the case on a Friday afternoon in August. Because the situation appeared to be an emergency, he immediately took action, seeking the assistance of Richmond County Sheriff Investigator Ryan Ferguson and a locksmith at the woman’s Skinner Mill Place home, which has a fair market value of nearly $470,000.

Overstreet testified that Bagwell’s grandson who was at the home cleaning the pool was asked to call Bagwell. She arrived in a Honda truck registered to the alleged victim, Overstreet said. Pictures of Bagwell’s family and her mementos were on the fireplace mantle, and her prescription medications were in the master bedroom. Although the alleged victim hasn’t lived in the home for over a year, there was fresh food in the refrigerator and pantry. A large walk-in safe in the master bedroom was empty except for two firearms, but there were many bank envelopes with cash totaling $24,349 in the house.

At the home of Bagwell’s son, Overstreet said he collected jewelry, commemorative knives, and guns that Bagwell had given her son to hold.

There were hundreds if not a thousand or more pieces of jewelry, Overstreet testified.


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He also went to a friend’s of the woman’s husband, Randy Reeves, who had been serving as the power of attorney for the alleged victim until May when Bagwell replaced him. He was holding $68,100 in cash and 125 firearms that belonged to the alleged victim.

The only financial payment Overstreet made from the alleged victim’s assets was to pay an overdue bill of around $5,000 to the memory care facility where she lives.

The issue of the alleged victim’s mental state and what that means for Bagwell is a decision to be determined later after medical and other evidence is presented, Craig said at the Sept. 30 hearing. Craig granted the petition for the appointment of attorneys to oversee the alleged victim’s personal needs and protect her assets until then.

Notice was filed of Bagwell’s intention to appeal Craig’s Sept. 30 ruling. However, her attorney has withdrawn from the case, according to court documents, and no new attorney have filed notice of being her replacement.

Sandy Hodson is a staff reporter covering courts for The Augusta Press. Reach her at sandy@theaugustapress.com. 

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