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Family Members Indicted for Financial Exploitation of Late Golf Legend Charles Sifford


(CLEVELAND)— Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced today the indictments of two individuals accused of improperly spending more than a million dollars belonging to legendary late professional golfer Charles Sifford Sr.

A Cuyahgoa County grand jury indicted Charles Sifford's son, Craig Sifford, 48, and daughter-in-law, Sandra Sifford, 48, both of Brecksville, with three counts of theft, one count of money laundering, and one count of unauthorized use of property.  Sandra Sifford is also facing an additional charge of receiving stolen property.

The indictments follow an investigation conducted as part of Attorney General DeWine's Elder Justice Initiative by agents with the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) with assistance from Cuyahoga County Adult Protective Services.  The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office is prosecuting the case.

The investigation was launched prior to Charles Sifford's death after a complaint was made to law enforcement alleging that Craig Sifford was abusing his role as his father's power of attorney.  After examining volumes of financial accounts, BCI agents found that the couple, who are now divorced, allegedly misspent more than $1 million belonging to the golfer, who was 92 years old when he passed away earlier this year.

The pair is accused of spending the money, which should have solely been used towards Charles Sifford's care, on items such as travel, dining, clothing, jewelry, landscaping, and other expenses between 2010 and 2013.

"Charles Sifford, who is credited for courageously breaking the professional golf color barrier, served as an inspiration to so many people and tragically ended up being financially exploited by members of his family," said Attorney General DeWine. "Crimes like this will not be tolerated in Ohio, and through my office's Elder Justice Initiative, we work to hold those accountable who steal from older Ohioans."

“The elderly and the disabled are particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation, especially from family members,” said Cuyahoga County Assistant County Prosecutor Paul Soucie, chief of the Office’s Economic Crime Unit. “It is important that we hold these perpetrators responsible for their actions.”

A copy of the indictment can be found here.

The Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office and Internal Revenue Service also assisted with the investigation.

Attorney General DeWine launched the Elder Justice Initiative last year to increase the investigation and prosecution of elder abuse cases and improve victims' access to services in Ohio. Anyone who suspects incidents of elder abuse or financial exploitation should contact their local authorities or the Attorney General's Elder Justice Initiative at 800-282-0515.


Media Contacts:

Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Jill Del Greco: 614-466-3840

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