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Ex-W.Va. bank officer liable in elder abuse case

BECKLEY, W.Va. — A former Monroe County bank executive has been found liable in an elder abuse case and ordered to pay the 98-year-old victim more than $325,000 in damages.

Betty B. Brown, former senior vice president at First National Bank of Peterstown, was found liable for converting funds and real estate belonging to Isadora Beavers, who is now a resident of a Rich Creek, Va., nursing home. Brown served Beavers and had power of attorney from early 2009 until July 2013.

A Monroe Circuit Court jury returned the verdict against Brown at the conclusion of a four-day civil trial last week in Union. The jury found Brown liable for fraud, conversion, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty. In keeping with the verdict, jurors awarded Beavers compensatory damages of $151,777.06 and assessed punitive damages of an additional $175,000 against Brown.

The bank was not a party to the litigation.

The Register-Herald’s attempts to contact Brown and her attorney, Randall Veneri of Princeton, were unsuccessful.

John Bryan, the Union attorney who represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said he felt the jury “made a statement” in awarding such significant punitive damages, adding that an amount of that sort is “very, very rare” and that he hopes it serves as a deterrent for others who may be contemplating financial abuse of an elderly person.

Although the suit was brought by Beavers’ co-guardians, John Beavers and Stephen Radis, Bryan said he was first alerted to the situation involving the financial issues by Isadora Beavers herself.

“One day this 97-year-old lady walked into my office and told me she believed the woman who was her power of attorney was stealing from her,” Bryan said. “She was very articulate … and I wanted to help her…

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