Cynthia Hurley was arrested last week after making threats against her great aunt, Lillian King, King’s attorney, Robert Rosenthal, and Nader Agha, co-conservator of King’s estate, said Monterey County Deputy District Attorney Lisa Poll.
One [threat] was verbalized to [Hurley’s] counselor and involved all three of those individuals, Poll said. And the second incident just involved Nader Agha on April 23. Poll said details of the threats aren’t public now but could be revealed at a May 10 court hearing in Salinas. Hurley was in a courtroom Tuesday for appointment of a public defender and remains in custody at Monterey County Jail.
One of the terms of [Hurley’s] probation is not to harass, threaten or harm the victim or co-conservators in the case, Poll said.
The Pacific Grove woman sentenced to a year in jail for stealing about $1 million in gold and silver coins and antiques from her 99-year-old great aunt has been sued by the co-conservators of the elderly woman’s estate, who are seeking to reclaim the property.
The civil lawsuit contends Hurley’s actions amounted to despicable conduct that subjected King to a cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard of her rights.
Hurley was released from jail in February, less than her one-year sentence, because she was given credit for good behavior and for time already served in jail since her arrest
Before sentencing, Cynthia Hurley, clad in striped jail garb, was uncuffed so she could sign quit claim deeds for her 30-percent ownership of four Pacific Grove properties to pay a chunk of the $975,000 restitution.
Hurley was convicted of stealing the valuables from 98-year-old Lillian King, who had taken in Hurley and allowed her to live on her five-acre Sunset Drive property. At Hurley’s encouragement, King purchased properties on Divisadero and Granite streets and Piedmont and Forest avenues and signed over partial interest to Hurley.
Prosecutor Lisa Poll said Hurley’s actions were fueled by her addiction to methamphetamine and that she had filled King’s Sunset Avenue property with drug addicts.
Cynthia Hurley pleaded no contest Thursday to stealing close to $1 million worth of valuable coins and jewelry from her 98-year-old great aunt.
An agitated Hurley, appeared reluctant but waived her right to a jury trial and admitted one count of elder financial abuse.
She will be sentenced to one year in jail and three years probation as part of the agreement. The plea bargain requires her to sign over her 30 percent interest in four Pacific Grove properties to reimburse Lillian King for her losses.
“I am hurt and I’m sad because my niece just threw her life away and she could have had a lovely one,” said King.
Bejeweled with diamonds, a dozen jangling gold bracelets and a gold Krugerrand coin around her neck, the diminutive woman was ushered to the stand by Peninsula businessman Nader Agha, a family friend who is the co-conservator of her estate.
Upon questioning, she told prosecutor Lisa Poll she moved to California with her husband in 1954. Poll then asked her birth date.
“Dec. 29,” she said.
“What year?” asked Poll.
“Oh, I don’t want to give it,” she said smiling, sparking laughter in the courtroom.
But we need to know your age, Scott told her.
“I’m over 39,” she said, before whispering her true age to the judge.
Using headphones and an assisted-listening device, King was less lighthearted when asked to identify her grandniece, who was shackled nearby in orange-and-white-striped jail garb. King, forced to look at the defendant, briefly broke into tears.
“I’ve never had anyone look after me,” she said. “I’ve always had to paddle my own canoe and I was glad to do so.”
On the contrary, she testified, she tried to take care of Hurley by buying seven rentals on four properties and signing over 30 percent to Hurley. In return, Hurley was to manage the properties and “be self-sufficient.”
In an emotional outpouring, Cindy Hurley, the grand niece of a wealthy elderly woman who filed a restraining order against her last week, said she loves her great aunt and didn’t steal more than $1 million in cash and precious coins or put her life at risk.
“She accused me of being a thief, and that hurts,” Hurley said.
“I had to sell some gold coins to pay for labor, for taxes, and materials,” Hurley said. “I got a little out of hand. There are some things I probably spent a little more than I should of.” She said she was referring to a $2,000 used motorhome and landscaping tools.
Hurley, who is King’s legal caretaker, is suspected of involvement in the theft and resale of King’s gold and silver coins, according to Pacific Grove Police Chief Carl Miller.
Coins and other valuables were recovered Monday when police served search warrants at Hurley’s home, businesses and bank, Miller said.
Police at the time were responding to neighbors’ reports of squalid conditions. Officers searching the house found papers, kitchen appliances and dishes stacked throughout the house, and determined that King was living in unsafe conditions.
Two Pacific Grove women were arrested Wednesday morning on suspicion of trespassing at a property owned by an aunt of one of the women.
Rindi Rehs, 33, was cited and released, and the owner’s niece, Cynthia Hurley, 47, was also found to be in possession of drugs, police said. Hurley was charged and released on bail.
“Right in the middle of all this wealth and affluence is West Virginia,” Chief Carl Miller said. “We were getting calls.”
Bad analogy, chief.
An elderly woman who was taken from her Pacific Grove residence after police discovered her palatial home had turned into a slum, had not suffered neglect from her caregiver, according to authorities.
Armed with a search warrant, police found Lillian King, 97, living in “unsafe conditions” at her home earlier this month,
The good news, White said, is that King does not show any adverse signs of having lived in the home.
“Her health is good for a 97-year-old woman and her mind is intact… she shows no ill effects from living here and it doesn’t appear that she has been abused in any form.”
Police obtained the warrant to search the home after neighbors made numerous complaints that there was a lot of “activity” at the home.