GBI Makes Arrests in Elderly Abuse Investigation

April 11, 2016

Hancock County, GA – On Friday, April 8, 2016, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office arrested Samantha Watkins, age 23, Makalia Hines, age 19, Jamaris Cooper, age 26, Sabreal, Taylor, age 28, and Sebreal Taylor, age 28, on the following charges:

Samantha Watkins - Theft by Taking (Felony), Forgery 3rd Degree, Exploitation of an Elderly Person

Makalia Hines - Theft by Taking (Felony), Exploitation of an Elderly person

Jamaris Cooper - Exploitation of an Elderly Person

Sabreal Taylor - Exploitation of an Elderly Person

Sebreal Taylor - Exploitation of an Elderly Person

In January 2016, the GBI initiated a criminal investigation at the request of the Sparta Police Department for the alleged financial abuse of a Hancock County resident, over 80 years of age, who was living alone.  Adult Protective Services (APS) had also received a complaint from a family member and was actively involved with an investigation as well.  APS provided investigative information to the GBI that led to the identification of the scheme utilized during the alleged financial abuse.

Beginning in September of 2015, the above subjects befriended the elderly person and began to have the victim sign personal checks and in one case forged the victim’s signature on the victim’s bank account which totaled over $44,000 dollars.  It was later determined that none of the subjects are of any relation to the victim.

The agencies participating in this investigation are the Sparta Police Department, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, and Adult Protective Services.  This investigation is active and ongoing and will be turned over to the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for judicial review.

Contact Information: 
Joe Wooten (Special Agent in Charge); (478) 445-4173