Pastor Accused Of Stealing From Man With Alzheimer’s

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — A Minneapolis man with Alzheimer’s had more than $32,000 stolen from him, and his family said the fact that it was their pastor makes it hurt even more.

“I thought it was normal for a pastor to help out any way he can. He became like family to us,” said Rachel Rollins.

But Rollins said Greg Oats, the head pastor at Word of Faith Ministries in St. Paul, turned on her father and abused the family’s trust.

Rollins said her parents joined the church because of Oats. She said her father, Vern Rollins, even became a deacon. When her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, Oats appeared to help.

“He would start driving my dad to doctor’s appointments, to Red Wing (Minn.) to see his primary doctor. I thought it was sweet and it seemed like the Christian thing to do,” she said.

However, things changed when she went on vacation to California. Rachel Rollins said Oats made himself her dad’s power of attorney and put him in a nursing home. Then she said disability money started disappearing from her father’s checkbook.

After a police investigation, it was determined that Oats stole more than $32,000 from Vern Rollins over the course of a year. He was literally living off her father’s money.

The whole time Oats was stealing money from Vern Rollins, he wasn’t making payments to the nursing home where Rollins was living. According to the complaint, he didn’t make a payment for 8 months. That amounted to nearly $13,000 and it nearly put Rachel’s dad on the street. When confronted, Oats admitted to what he did, but that was all.

“We all sat down in a room and he admitted to what he did, but he never apologized for it. He didn’t even look at me,” said Rachel Rollins.

Oats now faces four felony charges, and could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

“He didn’t kill him, but this is horrible. It’s disgusting, frankly,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

Freeman said he hopes to convict Oats and send a message to others who may be mistreating vulnerable adults.

Oats had agreed to pay the nursing home back, but so far hasn’t. He could not be reached for comment.

Rachel Rollins said this has put a financial and emotional strain on her entire family. She says the family could end up owing thousands to Golden Living Center, and they owe thousands of dollars to attorneys as part of regaining power of attorney.

She said her father’s health is on the decline and her family is hoping someone may be able to donate a memorial plot for his burial.

More from John Lauritsen
  • Pat Erickson

    Something is amiss here! You can’t just take power of attorney over night and certain things have to be checked before it can happen. Just how long was she on vacation? I’m a primary caregiver for my 86 year old Mother and once I was taking care of her full time the rest of the family kind of walked off. Once in a while we get a “visit” from the rest but twice a year is about the max. I’m not power of attorney either. I’m saving the family at least 7,000.00 dollars a month by keeping her out of a skilled care unit. I make 1100 a month and even pay most of the rent with that. The family needs to wake up!!

    • Something wrong with this picture

      Yes something is not being told. You don’t leave on a vacation for a week or two and all this happen. And why didn’t she do something as soon as she got back.

  • Nancy Aleshire

    Doesn’t getting Power of Attorney involve going before the court system (probate court)? I had legal guardianship and conservatorship over my sons and had to appear before a judge. I had an attorney and so did my kids. I also am required to fill out a form each year stating how their SSI was spent.

  • Tom

    A pastor accused of stealing? Imagine that!!

  • Suzette

    I agree with the question of “How long was she on vacation?” When she returned, did she attend her father’s care conference at the nursing home? Did she EVER meet with the social service team or the nursing team to discuss her father and his well being/needs/care? Did she watch over anything? Or did she just assume somebody was doing all of this for her? Alzheimers is an awful disease and as somebody who has done this work, I will be the first to admit it is physically and mentally draining on the caregiver. But so is raising a child which this man obviously did for her years ago.

    • Ven

      I agree, elder care will be a major social issue over the next 10 years and many families can’t (and some don’t want to) deal with it…if this is a case where the family kind of ‘washed their hands’ of their dad and then rolled back in town expecting to ‘reap’ what he has with respect to remaiing wealth – shame on them. If the pastor was taking money to remain cost nuetral (none of his own money), maybe this should be looked at differently..elder care can certainly out pace what was mentioned as being stolen.

  • red

    This was her father, she not have been taking care of him if he took care of her all those years ago?

  • T

    Not only do they chase teenage boys, now they steal. Isn’t religion a wonderful thing.

  • Come On

    I’m glad someone else is asking why the daughter did not know this was going on. From my experience, it can possibly take weeks if not months to get a person into a nursing home depending on the need. Even though what the pastor did WAS wrong… how was he even allowed to do this?! I think the reporter needs to do a better job of asking probing questions to the daughter on why she even allowed this to happen?

  • Callina

    A lot of pastors are pastors as just a job, and not a calling, and have no business BEING a pastor. That said, the reason this is news is because of how shocking it is.

    • jackactionhero

      A lot?

      There is no “calling” and you need to recognize that.

      • Callina

        There is no calling?

        I suppose the only logical thing to do is ignore the Bible and instead follow the teachings of a stranger who thinks he’s an action hero.

        Yeah… that makes sense to me. So good of you to do your evangelizing and pull me into YOUR reality. :-)

        • jackactionhero

          Evangelizing? What?

          I’m not trying to get you to follow me, little sheep, although it doesn’t seem like you’d be too difficult to entice into a cult. I do not want you entering “my reality” whatever that means. Your comments are borderline frightening, to be bluntly honest.

          Saying there are “called” ministers and those who do it for a job is like saying there are “real” psychics and fakers who take advantage of people.

          • Callina

            Please look up the word “sarcasm” in the nearest dictionary, and have a nice day.

  • CJ

    I see faults on both sides. How did the pastor get Power of Attorney and the daughter not know? That sounds suspicious…and the stealing part…hmm…sounds very similar to the Bill Matthews case up in Elk River at Solid Rock Church..His trial starts in December…

  • Gutter Ball

    Some people worship money above all else.
    The main thing about this story all around, is the lack of common sense.

  • Pastor Accused Of Theft From Vunerable Man « CBS Minnesota

    […] Read the whole story here. Share this No comments // […]

  • Rachel Rollins

    This is Rachel Rollins and I need to set some of you straight! How dare you leave such aweful comments without doing some research!! Power of Attorney is just a piece of paper, there is no need to go to court or even get it noterized. So yes, it was just as easy as print and sign. I was on vacation for over a month. Fact is we trusted this master manipulater and he siezed the opportunity when I was out of town. My father was NOT in his right mind at this time. As far as me gaining power, I had to hire an attorney, go to court and keep in contact with the judge. I have Legal Guardianship and Conservitorship, this story saying I got Power of Attorney is an error. Like I said before we trusted this man and his wife, they were like family. We had dinners together, celebrated birthdays and babyshowers etc. I really thought they just loved him and wanted to help out. I’m a full-time nursing student and a mother I didn’t have as much time as I liked to visit and care for him but I saw him at least weekly. I love my dad more then any of you can imagine and all of this is killing me, especially your accusations!

    • Darius

      Rachel, you really need to be a WOMAN and tell the truth!!, because if anyone knows how you and your family treated your father it’s me!!! So while your sitting here going from station to station and trying to make my brother to look like a bad guy… so get your story straight..

      • Tarrah

        the stations came to her….because its a public case….shes not even the one charging greg…..shows how informed you are on all this :)

    • bj

      Rachel, you did the right thing. They say your family attended Oats church and you Trusted him. That trust was broken when your Fathers bills were not paid. I feel so bad for you all losing the family pictures and such in the storage unit that was not paid for. while Oats was squandering your Fathers money.It does not matter what the situation was. facts are bills were not paid with the funds intended for his care. I don’t think your father was shopping at Walmart paying cable bill and all the other ATM withdrawls. Why do you think Oats is hiding ? because he is guilty. Any real Man of God would fess up to his mistake ask for forgiveness and pay back the money they stole..

      • Sharon G


  • DRG

    I work for an Estate Planning Attorney and do Power of Attorneys on a daily basis for both Health Care and Property. The Power of Attorneys we do are at least 7-10 pages in length and once signed MUST BE NOTARIZED. Further, I’m almost certain that it takes longer than 30 days to have someone admitted into a Nursing/Senior Care Facility.

    Wow, a full-time nursing student and month that didn’t have time to visit and care for her dad whom she loves so much, but HAD TIME TO TAKE A MONTH LONG VACATION!!!!


    • Tarrah

      a FAMILY vacation with her son during her only school break……..your life does not stop because you have a father in a nursing home. especially when you believe the person he is with CAN be trusted.

    • Scott Peterson

      DRG, so you have the nerve to talk bad about someone but not the nerve to leave your name. Maybe we should look into your life and see all the horrible things you do in your life, or I am just assuming things just like you are doing about Rachel. She is a wonderful person who makes 90% of the rest of us look like horrible people when compared to her.

  • M. H.

    I happen to know Greg and I can tell you that everything that is reported on the news and by Rachel is NOT true! There is a LOT to the other side of this story that has not been told! For example, there were numerous occasions when Greg went to the nursing home to visit and take care of Vernon. Quite often he even took clothes home to wash them and bring them back because the nursing home was not always “on the ball”. I was with him when the nursing home called Greg to tell him that Vernon had fallen because they could not reach his daughter…Greg was the one who went out to see about him. Greg and I had conversations about how much he cared about Vernon…he was hesitant to even get power of attorney because of the drama that Vernon’s family was causing but he did it because he cared about Vernon. Greg even allowed Vernon to live with him until his dementia got so bad that it wasn’t safe to have him there anymore. Putting him in a nursing home was a very hard decision for him. I’m glad that there are others who see that there is more than one side to this story! I will continue to pray for Greg and for Vernon…unfortunately there will be no winner on either side when all is said and done.

    • Tarrah

      that is why there has been an investigation..and criminal charges filed by people other then the family…..because it IS true and he WAS wronged by Greg. AGAIN, MULTIPLE FELONIES.

    • Sharon G

      Oh You say Vern lived with them…… Pastor Oats wife on channel 9 news said she didn’t know Vern and didn’t know what her husband had to do with him…. SOMEONE IS A Liar

      • .

        I believe what his wife said on the clip was “I don’t know anything about this”. Is there any possibility she was talking about the accusations against her husband and not denying knowing Vernon? Her mistake was talking to the media at all….everyone knows they report what they want to report…the media is famous for using clips to twist what someone has really said. Why do you think Greg has not spoken to anyone? Why would he put himself out there for his words to be twisted and used against him? Guilty or innocent…I think he’s making the right decision by staying silent until he can be sure that what he says is heard accurately.

        • bj

          Sounds like she is denying any involvement in the crime, by saying she knows nothing about it. The facts are Monies that were intended for the mans care were used otherwise. The nursing home was not paid period. Everyone makes mistakes and you are a fool to believe that Greg not coming out to tell the truth is right. Why are the websites down and the videos gone ? You re supposed to run to God not away from him.and furthermore the bible says to pay everything that you owe. Its stated he agreed to pay the nursing home and has not paid a dime. bottom line you reap what you sow.

          • .

            …..just like you said….it is stated….why would you assume that what was stated is true?? And not speaking to the media and running from God are two totally different things….God has NOTHING to do with the media.

            • bj

              I guess you could assume that this is all fabricated against him I’m sure that the nursing home bill is fact. I would assume the 130 ATM transactions are fact. The money gone from the mans account is fact. Greg had the access to the account is fact. I sure would not let the media ruin my ministry and my character be defamed if it was not true without a fight. The district attorney would not waste the time or resources if there was not sufficient evidence against him.Why did he agree to pay the nursing home and pay them nothing, if he did nothing wrong or out of order.. If God is for you Then stand up before man and proclaim your innocence. He is making himself look bad. He is making the Church look bad too.

        • Tim

          Burger king charges?

    • Pete

      I used to know Greg and if you have seen him lately, he has defintely been to Burger King one too many times,

  • Tarrah

    You people shock and disgust me. How dare you judge the family when all the information you have is a 3 min news clip, clearly the news was unable to tell every detail and “fill every hole” for you. They also didn’t mention the storage unit that was lost due to lack of payment by the Mr.Oats. that contained all Vernon’s personal belongings….family photos… mementos…ect, these are things the family will NEVER ever get back. Bottom line is, this is a conversation that should never even be had seeing that the man being charged in the with MULTIPLE felonies, is a man of the church…..we should never ever ever have to question his motives or actions, but we do, and people need to be aware that this could happen to your family member right under your own nose from the people you trust the most. Being a single full time mother and student like Rachel with little to no help from other family members you are going to accept help when it’s offered and there is no reason at all she should be judged for that…and p.s. people are allowed to take vacations….this, like I said, could happen right in front of you, it just takes some smooth talking by a master manipulator, who again, is being charged with multiple felonies for what he did because it was morally wrong and illegal. Its very naive of some of you to believe that “your story” and “experiences” are just the same as everyone else dealing with this scenario and therefore should be compared as such but that is simply not the case, Rachel was there, doing the best she was able to with her dad but again, being a full time mom and student and trying to work a job does not leave any one person with the time or financial ability to be a full time nurse and caregiver to an ailing man….that is why we have care facilities. So lets please stay focused on whats important here, and get all the details or at least make an effort to be an adult and ask questions before you hurt and condemn the family of a man who’s last bit of dignity was stolen by a man he loved and trusted. His Pastor.

    • .

      Whoa…slow your roll Tarrah. “Shock and disgust me” is a strong statement to use while judging other people when you are ALSO judging based only on one side of the story. Regardless of what happened, there are always two sides to every story. What I have read here is simply people asking very relevant questions…all of which need to be investigated and answered before anyone is found guilty or innocent of anything….including Rachel…

  • Sharon G

    You people are all very sad, How dare you try to blame it all on her for taking her son on a well needed vaction for both of them, He is the trusted and loved Pastor, He is a theif, and had this all planned very well. I hope other families will see this and come forward, who knows how many people this man has stolen from, He is very good at it as you can see.
    You can see a 3 minutes news clip and pass blame on her, you shopuld all be ashamed of yourselves, This man of God will hopefully be doing jail time , then he can meet his maker on judgement day, IN HELL

    • Darius

      She didn’t take her child on the vacation with her, cuz her mom was attending Pastor Oats church and had Rachel’s son with her for that entire month…

    • jackactionhero

      There is no hell, there is no maker, and nobody gets punished AFTER they die. Period. Stop believing the fairly tales. We all die alone; and nobody is coming to save us.

      • Callina

        Preaching again? :-) LOL

  • Jody

    This family is a close family and Rachel does a great job of taking care of her father. It’s recommended by physicians that if you have an elderly parent to take care of that you take a vacation to relieve stress and regenerate yourself so you can better care for your loved one.

    As for a POA, my mother gave me hers by signing a piece of paper, getting it notarized at the bank then giving me a copy. It doesn’t take a court to assign POA’s, but it does take one to undo the damages from predators.

  • BJ

    Lets see, do the math 32,000 missing 12,000 nursing home bill not paid 130 ATM transactions. PASTOR Oats with the Card.. Shoulda, woulda and coulda… BUT he didn’t do the right thing…Unless someone forced him to not pay the nursing home and withdraw money from the ATM at gun point..I hope justice is served..

  • jackactionhero

    “Seemed to be the christian thing to do”

    Now that’s how you find yourself in a situation where you can become a victim. That’s like believing Minnesota Nice is real.

  • smartfornow

    What a mess. POA and Guardianships/Conserveship are very different. There is little need for both a POA and a Conservatoire. Talking a demented mind into signing anything is a violation of his Vulnerable Adult Rights. It was croresing him to signing something he could not understand. To me that is the wrong. As for Rachel, you will be damned if you had and damned if you han not. I was the POA for my father. After he died I was his Ex. of his humble estate. His family put me through HELL when he died. They hollered at me for all the bad things they thought he had done. Then they took the legal right of ‘next of kin’ which is your children if you have them, away by ignoring me and planned a shot gun memorial service so a family member could go on vacation! The service excluded his deserving US Coast Guard Honors, and the chance to have his loved Grandchildren there from out of state without any thought to PLANNING> There are not the ‘next of kin’ my fathers daughters are. So, remember Rachel, your fathers ‘next of kin’ are the only legal party who can plan and prepare his funeral arrangements and that is his children! Unless his will states differently.
    Much Luck.

  • firefly

    Unbelievable!!! Stupid people are always trying to blame the innocent instead of the red handed thief. PASTER of a church, fraud, looking to rip off vulnerable people. SICK!!!!! How many more people has he done this to under the cover of a church?

  • Pete

    Burger King? That still cracks me up..

  • Pete

    Rachel, you are HOT!

  • Ashleigh Bursch

    Are people really debated about this since when is there any type of defense to taking 32,000 from an elderly mans account in one year and spending it yourself!! I don’t care who knows him, his family or Rachel for that matter it is WRONG and illegal I could care less if Rachel is the worst daughter in the world (not that she is) that gives NOBODY the right to do what he did! I’m sorry to Rachel for having to deal with not only her fathers situation and now this backlash she did no wrong doing nor steal from anyone. GREG did. shame on him and anyone trying to defend what is factual who cares how he got power of attorney he abused his rights and this dying man.

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