Yogis Steal Millions from Malibu Doctor, Highlighting Caregiver Dangers

Prosecutors believe that following the doctor's death, he and actress Anna Rene Moore
Dr. Mark Sawusch, an ophthalmologist from California, struggled with bipolar disorder, which ended his career and isolated him from his family. 
 (Representational image: Pixabay)
Dr. Mark Sawusch, an ophthalmologist from California, struggled with bipolar disorder, which ended his career and isolated him from his family. (Representational image: Pixabay)

Anthony David Flores received a sentence of almost 16 years in jail for preying on an unsuspecting Malibu doctor. Prosecutors believe that following the doctor's death, he and actress Anna Rene Moore, who was his girlfriend at the time, attempted to inherit a third of his wealth.

Dr. Mark Sawusch, an ophthalmologist from California, struggled with bipolar disorder, which ended his career and isolated him from his family. In 2017, he met Flores and Moore at a vegan ice cream parlor in Venice Beach. They quickly moved into his Malibu home, taking control of his $60 million fortune and isolating him from friends and family.

Under their care, Sawusch received extensive massage therapy and doses of LSD, marijuana, and ketamine, an animal tranquilizer used to treat severe depression. Less than a year later, Sawusch died at 57 from a toxic mix of ketamine and alcohol during a manic episode. Prosecutors allege that Flores and Moore's reckless actions contributed to his death.

Flores and Moore funneled millions of dollars from Sawusch's accounts and tried to claim a third of his estate after his death. On Monday, a Los Angeles federal court judge sentenced the 47-year-old Flores to 15 years and eight months in prison, exceeding the prosecution's request. Moore will get his punishment after entering a guilty plea and consenting to assist the police.

"You chose greed above all else and took advantage of someone who was weak," U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson said. "If you take advantage of the most vulnerable people in our society, there is a steep price to pay."

Flores and Moore funneled millions of dollars from Sawusch's accounts and tried to claim a third of his estate after his death. 
 (Representational image: Pixabay)
Flores and Moore funneled millions of dollars from Sawusch's accounts and tried to claim a third of his estate after his death. (Representational image: Pixabay)

Sawusch's family expressed relief, saying they found comfort in knowing the criminals confessed and are facing consequences. Flores' attorney, Ambrosio Rodriguez, argued that Flores was motivated by a genuine desire to help Sawusch, portraying their relationship as mutually beneficial.

Prosecutors identified Flores and Moore's actions as caregiver fraud, a common crime involving elderly or vulnerable people. An AARP study found that $20 billion is stolen annually in such cases. Experts warn of signs of abuse, such as isolating the victim, unusual financial transactions, and changes in behavior.

Sawusch's life took a downturn in the months before he met Flores and Moore. He divorced after a year of marriage, lost his father, and suffered a severe accident that ended his medical career. Despite a successful medical practice and a fortune worth $80 million, his mental health deteriorated, leading to multiple psychiatric facility stays and legal issues.

Flores and Moore moved into Sawusch's home within a day of meeting him. They took advantage of his desire for social acceptance, leading him to invite them into his life. However, Sawusch began to suspect them, throwing them out during a manic episode. Despite this, they returned and continued their control over his life and finances.

Flores gained power of attorney over Sawusch's accounts to pay his bail after he was jailed, using this control to siphon off $3.1 million. Following Sawusch's death, Flores and Moore claimed they were promised a third of his estate but eventually dropped their claim after a civil suit by Sawusch's family.

Flores entered a guilty plea, acknowledging that he had moved $1 million out of Sawusch's accounts both before and after his passing, as well as having a worker claim to be Sawusch in order to get bank permission. Additionally, he acknowledged making up the tale that the doctor had promised them a share of his wealth.

(Input from various sources)

(Rehash/ Susmita Bhandary/MSM)

Dr. Mark Sawusch, an ophthalmologist from California, struggled with bipolar disorder, which ended his career and isolated him from his family. 
 (Representational image: Pixabay)
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