3 charged in exploiting elderly man's train wreck settlement

AIKEN -- Three Graniteville women have been arrested by Aiken County authorities following allegations that a 78-year-old man was being financially exploited.

According to an arrest warrant, Minnie Lee Jeff, of McArthur Drive, has been charged with two counts of exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Two other women, Maudeine Mayer, of Pine Street, and Angela Townsend, of Mount Arthur Drive, also have been charged with abuse/obstruction of an investigation, arrest warrants show.

Aiken County sheriff’s Capt. Troy Elwell said Ms. Jeff had obtained power of attorney over Elijah Earl and was improperly using money he had received in a 2007 settlement from Norfolk Southern following a train crash that occurred in Graniteville.

Capt. Elwell said the settlement was for more than $150,000 and that Ms. Jeff had moved the funds into her own personal account and had spent more than $100,000 of it.

He said Ms. Mayer and Ms. Townsend were charged with obstruction because police were looking to interview Mr. Earl but say the two women helped Ms. Jeff hide him from authorities.

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