A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department lieutenant was jailed Wednesday, Valentine's Day, caught up in a sweeping indictment involving elder exploitation. Contact 13 Darcy Spears continues her years-long expose on guardianship abuse with this heart- breaking case.
He was supposed to serve and protect but instead he's accused of felony crimes for using Clark County's guardianship system to steal from the estate of a vulnerable couple. And this police officer is directly connected to others first exposed in our ongoing investigation of guardianship corruption.
Lieutenant James Thomas Melton is a decorated police veteran. As a sergeant, Melton received a group Medal of Valor and Purple Heart in 2009 for being wounded during a domestic violence call where a baby was pulled away from gunfire.
He was also a homicide detective and Metro's SWAT commander, making about $300,000 a year including benefits.
But Valentine's Day, a fall from grace as Melton was indicted by a grand jury and charged with stealing the life savings, over $700,000 from an 87-year-old widow suffering from dementia.
Court records claim Melton deceived the court after the victim died, representing that she was still alive so he could be named beneficiary on various accounts.
And Melton didn't act alone. The indictment shows he hired private guardian April Parks. Parks is already in jail facing over 200 felony counts after our investigation revealed she was double-billing and exploiting clients. Parks, her attorney Noel Palmer Simpson and former office manager Mark Simmons all face additional charges of exploitation for working with Melton.
According to the indictment, Melton is also accused of stealing the victim's Ford Explorer and taking $2,187.50 from her Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust.