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Hamilton County man accused of stealing nearly $200,000 from great-grandmother

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

A Hamilton County man is accused of stealing nearly $200,000 from his great-grandmother.

Twenty-four-year-old Colby Chase Oliver is charged with theft of property over $60,000 and willful abuse, neglect, and exploitation of an adult.

Court records show the man's great-grandmother, Bobbie Stover, said her great-grandson stole $187,990.40 from her savings and checking accounts over the course of two years and four months.

Her social security checks are now her only source of income.

"I don't know what I'm going to do. I thought about selling my car, selling my house, what can I do?," Bobbie Stover, the great-grandmother said.

They reveal Stover added Oliver to her account in March of 2013 to help her handle her finances after her husband died.

"I'd rather a stranger done it, you know, than somebody that we love, you know?," Stover said.

Bergen Aldahir with Partnership for Families, Children, and Adults said cases like this are all too common.

"It typically starts with 'well, hey grandma, let me go ahead pay that bill for you. Let me handle your mortgage, you don't need to worry about that. That's usually the first step. Be careful. It sounds so well intended," Bergen Aldahir of Partnership for Families, Children, and Adults said.

She recommends elderly people only list themselves on their bank accounts or reach out to a trusted agency.

Stover knew something was wrong when late notices came on her bills. That's when she got the bank involved and called police.

Court documents said Oliver changed the mailing address on his great-grandmother's savings account to his own address without her permission. 

He was booked into the jail on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Channel 3 spoke with Oliver's mother who said he's innocent.

"I don't want to see nothing bad happen to him because no matter what, I still love him," Stover said.

Oliver is expected to appear in court on September 6th.

TIPS AND RESOURCES

There are a number of ways elderly people can protect themselves. First Tennessee Bank suggests the following:

1.  Look for warning signs.  Bank statements that don’t come to the house, changes in power of attorney, changes in beneficiaries, large or unexplained bank transfers, missing property and unfamiliar signatures on documents are all warning signs.

2.  Have a family discussion before you empower someone to have a say in your financial picture.  Doing this will set the tone for your wishes and will put the family on notice as to who is responsible.

3.  Run background checks on anyone being considered to care for the senior in your life.

4.  Accompany seniors to meetings with financial advisors.  You may have to explain technical language or weigh in to make decisions for them.

5.  Protect and document valuables.  Photos of valuables are important in documenting items; however, what’s more important is to keep the valuables safe.  Consider locking them up or come to one of our branches for a safety deposit box.  

6.  Visit your senior regularly or ask someone else to if you can’t.  Simply checking in on a senior is a great way to not only check on their financial health, but their overall general health.  Besides, visits are always appreciated!  

Partnership of Families, Children, and Adults is a resource in the community that seniors can use. They have counselors and programs that can help elderly people handle their finances for free and safely.

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