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For Immediate Release

Cloverdale Man Sentenced To Ten Years In Prison For Elder Theft

Santa Rosa,CA | October 05, 2018

Defendant Theodore Smith Hudson III, 54 years old of Cloverdale, was sentenced today to ten years in state prison by the Honorable Julie Conger following a two-month-long May trial in which a Sonoma County jury found Hudson guilty of nine counts of theft from an elder adult.

District Attorney Ravitch stated, “This was an incredibly sad case and an example of the vulnerability of our elderly population.  This defendant manipulated and coerced these victims and caused them significant mental suffering.  The lengthy prison sentence was very appropriate in these circumstances.  While the victims did not live to see the end of this case, the substantial prison term should serve as a deterrent to others who might consider similar conduct.  Our Elder Protection Unit is dedicated to holding those who commit financial and physical abuse against seniors accountable, and this outcome is but one example of the fine work they are doing.”

The victim, Jane Doe, who was 93 years old at the time of the trial, testified that she and her husband lived in the Wikiup neighborhood for several decades.  They had amassed a large commercial real estate portfolio valued at over 18 million dollars.  They hired the defendant in 2009 to do yardwork and other odd jobs. Over time they became increasingly dependent on him to assist them with getting to doctor appointments, shopping, and personal care.

When the victim’s husband of 63 years died in February, 2015 Ms. Doe was devastated and extremely vulnerable.  In addition, she was legally blind and her health was deteriorating rapidly.  She relied on defendant for everything.  Hudson began to pressure her and threatened to abandon her if she did not transfer property to him.  She eventually added him to many of her bank accounts so that he could assist her with finances, and gave him several commercial properties.

Using the victim’s finances and unbeknownst to the victim, defendant thereafter purchased a 1.5 million dollar home in Cloverdale.  His original plan was to take a loan out against one of the commercial properties in order to pay for it.  When the loan wouldn’t go through, he embezzled the money out of several of the victim’s bank accounts and paid cash for the home.  The victim discovered the theft, alerted a business acquaintance, who then contacted the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department.

The victim learned of the verdict while on hospice.  She passed away the next day.  The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Carla Rodriguez, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Matt Stapleton.  Detective Tom Peirsol with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department headed the investigation.