Shelly Calderon on Wednesday, 11th September 2019, pleaded not guilty to charges laid upon her where she is accused of siphoning more than $13 million from an estate belonging to an elderly Las Vegas couple. In the indictment, she is accused of theft and elderly exploitation.
50-year-old Shelly faces seven counts each of theft and exploiting an older person in addition to one count of offering a false instrument for record or filing and one count of forgery.
According to an indictment, of the money Shelly is accused to siphon, the prosecutors allege that about $112,000 of it was to be used in the purchase of the historic Pahrump-based 138-acre Binion Ranch that was sold on November 9th, 2016, for $1 million from the appraised price of $2.4 million. The buyers were listed as following; Ralph L. and Betty L. McKnight.
Dominic Gentile, who is Calderon’s attorney, spoke outside the courtroom where he stated that there were plans the case would be taken to trial.
Citing a settlement agreement made in March of a civil dispute between Shelly Calderon and Betty L. McKnight, the attorney was confident that his client would not be found guilty of any wrongdoing.
In the indictment, Shelly is alleged that on the period between December 2016 and April 2016, to have transferred assets into the Oakmont West 2016 Trust where she was a controller from the McKnight 1998 Trust. The transferred assets are valued between $12.7 million and $13.4 million.
Estate planning documents amended
According to a Metro report, it is alleged that Shelly who was an insurance agent in Pahrump oversaw the McKnight’s estate planning documents amended to work on her favor. From the report, it is alleged that the documents had been ‘in place for decades.’ Investigators in the case found Shelly to have exploited Ralph L. and Betty L. McKnight before becoming their ‘trust beneficiary, fiduciary, and power of attorney’. The investigators allege that the findings suggest Shelly’s ‘financial motivation and pattern of exploiting the couple.’
The elderly couple enjoyed a 65-year plus marriage till Ralph L. McKnight died aged 90 in April 2017. In the indictment, the prosecutors have alleged that in his last days, Ralph had suffered from ‘mobility issues’ and ‘cognitive defects’
The indictment also alleges that the accused terminated two (2) insurance policies owned by Ralph McKnight valued at over $250,000. The prosecutors allege that Shelly proceeded to deposit the funds into her bank account.
The court documents continue to allege that in the summer of 2017, she would pay $25,000 to Robert Draskovich, an attorney while being investigated using one of Betty’s credit cards. All this would happen while McKnight was ailing from dementia.
August 2017 saw Shelly purchase a home and land in Texas of 100-acre all valued at over $1 million. The money is alleged to be from the Oakmont West 2016 Trust where she controlled.
The next hearing is scheduled on May 2020.