Man arrested for elder abuse; puts $25K on mom-in-law’s credit cards


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A Fayetteville man is arrested for elder abuse after helping himself to his mother-in-law’s credit cards and charging thousands of dollars.

Randy Keith Phipps, 56, racked up more than $25,000 on the cards, according to a police report.

Dorothea Barnes reported the theft on July 1 to the Fayetteville police department.

The 86-year-old woman has been in and out of the hospital for the past six years and now is at an assisted living home, the report states.

Five years ago, Barnes gave her daughter power of attorney and the woman told police that’s when Phipps began using her credit cards. Barnes said she has always been in possession of the cards and showed them to police. The woman said the agreement was for her bank card to be used to pay for [her] expenses, “nothing else.”

In 2018, Barnes gave her son, Dennis Barnes, permission to take over the finances and he was given power of attorney.

That’s when the son noticed the credit card charges and several checks made out to “cash,” according to the report.

The son demanded repayment from Phipps, and while a portion was paid, an outstanding balance remained. Both the mom and son, Dennis and Dorthea, filed a police report in an effort to recoup the money — $25,050.

The bank is aware of the fraudulent charges and is investigating.

Phipps was arrested July 22 for elder abuse and is at the Washington County Detention Center. He has a Rule 8.1 hearing Wednesday, July 24, and another hearing on August 23.

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