by Brandon Mulder
A Bastrop police officer is under investigation by the Texas Rangers after being accused of “egregious exploitation” of an 80-year-old woman’s finances to pay off debt he owed on his house and take control of her assets, according to the woman’s attorneys.
Patrick Amy, who has been with the Bastrop Police Department since 2015, is being investigated for allegedly defrauding a senior citizen, Chief James Altgelt confirmed.
“I believe when all facts come out I will be vindicated,” Amy told the Bastrop Advertiser on Thursday.
The attorneys asked that their client not be identified for fear that she might become a target in the future. In 2017, court documents show, the woman granted Amy durable power of attorney, an agreement that gives someone control over another person’s finances, assets and possessions when they become mentally incapable of handling their own affairs.
Using that power of attorney, Amy placed the woman in the Silver Pines Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Bastrop, removed all of her furniture and belongings from her house, including several family heirlooms, and moved his children and furniture into her home, the attorneys told the Advertiser.
Court documents show Amy also transferred the deed to her home to his name for $1 using a quit-claim deed in April 2018, they said. Amy transferred the property back to the woman using a quit-claim deed for $1 six months later, records show. It is unclear why.
The Bastrop Central Appraisal District valued the home at more than $138,000 in 2018, records show.
The attorneys claim Amy also used the power of attorney to release a $125,000 lien the woman had on Amy’s home. They claim Amy borrowed the money from the woman to build his home a few blocks away from the woman’s home in the Circle D Estates subdivision, and provided her with a deed of trust on the home until the lien was paid in full.
Texas Adult Protective ServicesTexas Adult Protective Services assist vulnerable and elder adults to stop and prevent abuse, neglect or exploitation. Anyone can make a report about suspected abuse to the hotline, 800-252-5400, or call 911.
The agency says signs of abuse of the elderly or people with disabilities can include injuries such as scratches, cuts, bruises, burns, broken bones or bedsores. It can also result in confinement, sexual misconduct, and verbal or psychological abuse.
Signs of neglect include starvation, dehydration, over- or under-medication, and unsanitary living conditions.
Exploitation means misusing the resources of an elderly or disabled person for personal or monetary benefit, such as taking Social Security checks, misusing a joint checking account, or taking property and other resources.
The Advertiser obtained a copy of the deed of trust which was executed Feb. 18, 2016, and shows the woman had a lien on Amy’s home for the loan she gave to him with a maturity date of Feb. 18, 2046.
The release of lien document recorded in Bastrop County, obtained by the Advertiser, shows Amy, as the woman’s agent through the power of attorney, released the lien the woman had on his property on April 16, 2018.
Attorneys Joe Grady Tuck and Chris Kirby with the Tuck Law Firm were retained by the woman’s family Feb. 27, the same day Amy’s power of attorney was revoked. The attorneys gave all occupants of her home notice to vacate the property on March 1. That same day, Amy transferred the title to the woman’s car over to the woman’s daughter, the attorneys said. They claim Amy had signed over the title to the woman’s 2010 Mercury over to himself.
“He was driving her cars; we got those back,” said Tuck, who is a former district attorney of the 216th Judicial District of Texas. “We got everybody out of the house, but there’s no furniture in there.”
Tuck and Kirby are searching for the whereabouts of the woman’s possessions, which Amy claims to have donated or thrown away, including a family Bible that was more than 100 years old, they said.
The attorneys said they are cooperating with the Texas Ranger investigation. The Department of Public Safety said it could not confirm or release any information on an active Ranger investigation.
″(We’re) still considering our best course of action,” Kirby said. “At present, we are awaiting results of the Rangers’ investigation and look forward to them doing the obvious — indicting Mr. Amy for massive and egregious exploitation of this elderly woman.”In May 2015 Jonathan Hamilton of Houston vanished in Bastrop. His parents were contacted by Bastrop PD that the vehicle he drove there was parked in front of Best Buy in town. Upon traveling there the family was met by none other than Officer Patrick Amy who told Angie Hamilton, (Jonathan’s mother) “If I were not on duty I would tell you a story.” The Hamilton’s were urged and intimidated by their own account to return to Houston. Jonathan Hamilton is still missing. Bastrop PD would not allow Eqqu Search to organize any search efforts to this date.
Kirby said he is still working to determine how and when Amy first ingratiated himself into the woman’s trust but said he believes Amy has been doing so for years. The relationship between the woman, who formerly worked as a corporate executive, and her only child faltered. They were barely communicating after Amy and the woman formed a relationship, Kirby said.
Altgelt said Amy, who is a former jailer with the Travis County sheriff’s office and has been a member of the law enforcement motorcycle club the Reguladores, Lost Pines Chapter, has been cooperating with the Rangers’ investigation and will not be placed on administrative leave or suspension.
“I am confident that the Texas Rangers will conduct a thorough and professional investigation. This investigation does not deal with officer Amy’s actions as a Bastrop Police Department officer,” Altgelt said. “Officer Amy is entitled to due process, which means the completion of a fair and impartial investigation before a judgement or decision is made. Once the investigation is completed, I will take appropriate action if necessary.”
“We had the discussion: Should he stay on the street or should he not?” Altgelt said. “If at any time his integrity comes into question, then I will take the appropriate step at that point, even if the investigation hasn’t been completed.”
Jonathan Hamilton Case