GREAT FALLS — Del Linda Frost of Miles City, who recently pleaded guilty to exploitation of an older person, received a suspended sentence and was ordered to pay more than $94,000 in restitution to her victim’s estate.
Frost, 60 years old, was charged with theft of property by embezzlement and the exploitation of an older person, both felonies, on January 3, 2019. According to a news release from the Montana Department of Justice, at a change of plea hearing on October 28, Frost pleaded guilty to the exploitation charge involving the now-deceased victim, Arthur Yamada, in Custer County between March 10, 2014 and March 14, 2018.
At a sentencing hearing on December 16, Judge Michael Hayworth ordered Frost to pay $94,075 in restitution and sentenced her to 10 years in prison, with all time suspended.
The Justice Department press release says that Frost was appointed temporary full conservator of Yamada on March 10, 2014; she became his permanent co-conservator on January 22, 2016. On August 23, 2017, the business manager of the nursing home where Yamada lived informed Miles City police that an $8,400 check from Yamada written by Frost had bounced.
Frost wrote two more checks totaling $14,382 to the nursing home; those checks also failed to clear. Additionally, Frost wrote several checks from Yamada’s checking account for cash, which emptied the account and left Yamada unable to pay for his care.
Frost also closed two certificates of deposit totaling almost $40,000. To cover the loss, Frost transferred funds from Yamada’s other bank accounts. To explain the checks issued for cash, Frost claimed they were for Yamada’s monthly allowance and items for his personal use. Frost was unable to explain why nearly $94,000 was missing, and resigned as Yamada’s co-conservator on March 14, 2018.
Yamada died on August 2, 2018 at the age of 97.
The investigation by the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation began on October 17, 2017, when the Miles City Police Department requested assistance from DCI’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
“This case was especially troublesome, given that the defendant worked in a law office and should have had the best interests of Mr. Yamada in mind when she was appointed as his conservator,” Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said. “Instead of acting conscientiously, Ms. Frost viewed Mr. Yamada as a tempting target and began embezzling his life savings almost immediately. Financial exploitation of seniors is a serious crime; one we must all guard against. I commend the nursing home business manager who alerted authorities when she suspected something was wrong, as well as my Division of Criminal Investigation’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Custer County Attorney’s Office for their diligent work on this case.”