Man charged in elderly theft case, Gallatin police warn there may be more victims

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GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – The family of an 89-year-old man, now in a nursing home, said the senior was taken advantage of by a man promising to sell their loved one’s household belongings.

In May 2020, Adult Protective Services took the family’s complaint to Gallatin Police which opened up an investigation that lead to a grand jury indictment and arrest.

According to Gallatin Police, the 89-year-old man’s family decided to sell his home furnishings and other belongings.

The family went online and found a company that liquidated estate items, run by James Dean.

Items listed by the police include:

  • Heavy oak table and high back chairs
  • Antique oak hutch with sideboard mirror
  • Full-sized couch
  • Dark brown leather recliner
  • Lift chair
  • Coffee tables
  • End tables
  • Floor lamps
  • Pictures
  • Antique iron
  • China cabinet
  • Silverplate flatware set
  • Washer/dryer
  • Chest of drawers
  • Bed
  • Nightstand
  • Butcher block table
  • Walker
  • Wheelchair
  • Shop-vac.

Police said, as each of the senior’s possessions was sold online, the family would receive 75% of the agreed-upon price and Dean would get 25%. On April 16, police said, the family received their first and only check for $500.

The check’s memo line read, FINAL PAYMENT:

The family told police that wasn’t the arrangement and the 89-year-old’s household items were valued between $3000-$4000.

Lt. Lamar Ballard said Dean talked to investigators about the case.

“He actually used the excuse that COVID-19 caused him to bundle all of the items, and sell them for one price and the check he sent them in the mail was the total amount of the estate. During our investigation, we determined this was incorrect, that he still had some of the items for sale. He didn’t bundle the items. We indicted him for theft.”

News 2 called James Dean for his side of the story. After a moment, he hung up with no comment.

According to police, Dean did write a letter to the police that essentially says, the family is trying to squeeze money from him. He says some of the items the family gave to him are sub-standard, and above all else, it’s a tough market in a COVID-19 world.

Meanwhile, Gallatin Police said there could be other victims out there and would like to talk to anyone who may have had dealings with James Dean. You can call GPD at (615) 452-1313.

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