SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara detective agency owner Craig Case sat in a wheel chair wearing jail clothing to hear details about the financial charges he faces that involved cash from an elderly Montecito woman's estate.
Case faces more than 50 felonies linked to 104 checks written to him by Nancy Coglizer who was the power of attorney for 94-year old Constance Fearing.
Case was ordered back to court where a future trial date will be set.
Coglizer is also facing charges and she has been ordered back to court next month for further proceedings.
Both were in court Wednesday.
The time of the embezzlement was listed as October 2018 through April 2021.
Deputy District Attorney Brian Cota showed documents and text messages in court that laid down a pattern of money transfers from the estate to Case.
An investigator said the checks were in small enough amounts that would not alert the bank that large transfers were taking place.
Coglizer signed the checks with her name and POA at the end, standing for Power of Attorney. An example was shown on a screen in court.
Court records also show that Case converted the checks directly into cash.
They totaled $690,000 before the money exchange stopped.
Coglizer asked Case to pay back the "loans." When nothing happened, the court testimony revealed that a co-trustee was alerted and Coglizer lost her job. A text to Case from Coglizer shown in court said "I will not go down alone. I will not go down alone."
There was also evidence Case received about $400,000 when he mothers mobile home was sold, but did not use any of that money to pay back the loan.
A civil case related to estate finances involving Case has also been started.
At the hearing there were other routes for the money and the court filings show Case asked for some of the money to be shown as payment for security work, which was not done. That included some back-dating of documents.
Coglizer has admitted issues with alcohol at the time, following the death of her mother who she was close to.
She said Case had done some work for Fearing and asked often if she had any extra money he could have as a loan. In court it was suggested that Case said a large new client was going to use his detective services and the money would be paid back, but it never was.
There were no promissory notes related to the loans.
In addition to defrauding the Fearing estate, Case is facing tax charges for failing to report for the purpose of tax evasion.