Desoto County News

Watson sentenced on felony exploitation charges

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch has announced recent sentencings in cases across the state that were investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office. One involved the sentencing of a woman who worked at an Olive Branch facility.  

“As our loved ones become older, they become vulnerable to financial abuse, often at the hands of those who have been entrusted with caring for them,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch. “If you suspect that a family member or friend is being taken advantage of, do not hesitate to contact my office. The sooner we can stop the bad actor, the better the chance of full recovery for their victim.”

On Oct. 3, Verneka Watson of Sardis was sentenced by DeSoto County Circuit Judge Celeste Wilson to five years of Non-Adjudicated probation in the custody of MDOC. Watson will have to pay restitution in the amount of $13,894.85 to her six victims, all residents of Millcreek of Olive Branch, where she served as site manager. The Attorney General’s office Tuesday said Watson had been charged with six counts of felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

Watson will be placed on the Federal Exclusions list for five years and prohibited from working in a healthcare facility.

Fitch said citizens can take steps to help safeguard loved ones from financial exploitation as they age. Be on the lookout for signs of possible abuse, including:

  • Unexplained account withdrawals,
  • Another individual unexpectedly making financial decisions on the older person’s behalf,
  • Disappearance of funds or valuable possessions,
  • Unanticipated transfer of assets to another individual,
  • Sudden changes to a will or other important financial documents, or
  • Suspicious signatures on checks.

If you would like to report a crime involving the exploitation of a vulnerable adult, contact the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.