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Caretaker gets 10 years for stealing half million from quadriplegic


September 13, 2017

Havre Daily News/Floyd Brandt

Teddy Young Sr. sits in state District Court in Chinook Tuesday. Young was sentenced to 25 years with 15 suspended for stealing more than half a million dollars worth of collectible coins from a person in his care.

A man who stole more than half a million dollars in silver and gold coins from an elderly Chinook man, who is a quadriplegic, received 10 years in the Montana State Prison Tuesday afternoon in District Court in Blaine County.

Teddy Young Sr., 52, received 25 years with 15 years suspended for seven counts of felony theft. District Judge Yvonne Laird also ordered him to pay $665,640 in restitution for stealing that estimated amount in coins and bars made of silver and gold over a two-year period.

Laird's judgement followed the recommendations of Blaine County Attorney Kelsie Harwood.

Young was a licensed practical nurse who lived with the Chinook family he robbed from for many years. He was one of two nurses who lived with the family in shifts to take care of the man, who was a rancher before a four-wheeler crash in 2004 rendered him quadriplegic.

"He went from being a rancher to having control over nothing," one of his daughters said during Tuesday's sentencing hearing.

Family members testified that after his accident, the man became a passionate coin collector and ardent investor, as a way to keep his mind busy because he is unable to do much else.

Witnesses testified that Young obtained the pass codes and combinations to the safes in which the victim kept the precious metals.

Charging documents say Young's accomplice sold coins to His and Hers Coins and Bullion in Great Falls. The owner told investigators Young's accomplice sold thousands of dollars in silver coins to the coin shop.

She told the owner the coins came from an inheritance Young received from his father.

During the sentencing, Young blamed the thefts on a methamphetamine addiction.

"Without the addiction, there never would've been a crime," he said.

His public defender, Regional Deputy Public Defender Kaydee Snipes Ruiz, told Laird the meth drove the crime.

"This incident was significantly impacted by a methamphetamine problem," Ruiz said.

Ruiz asked Laird to consider sentencing Young to the Department of Corrections, where he would be more likely to get the needed chemical dependency treatment she said he needs,

But when handing down her judgement, Laird said Young's criminal thinking predates his time working for the Chinook family and his meth addiction. In 1989, Young was discharged from the U.S. Army due to larceny convictions. In 2002, he was convicted of partner of family member assault. Young had broken his oath to the Army, he had broken his oath to a  partner, and he had done so again as a nurse when he ripped off the very people who entrusted him to take care of him, Laird said.

"You took an oath as a nurse and you violated that trust," the judge said.

A bulk of the wrangling between the defense and the state was over the value of some of the coins. Among the stolen items were five bags of silver dollars and quarters whose entire contents had not been inventoried, and a collection of South African gold krugerrands. Three people were called to testify about the value of the those items, the victim, one of the victim's daughters who had helped inventory and count the coins in the past, and office of public defender investigator Catherine Huston.

Laird said the testimonies given by the victim and his daughter were consistent and reliable, adding that the victim had been a longtime investor and connoisseur of coins.

Laird agreed with family members who had testified that Young's crime was more than theft, that what he did was personal.

"What kind of person steals from the elderly and the quadriplegic," one of the victim's daughters said during the victim impact statement. "He trusted you with every aspect of his life."


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