Reporting John Lauritsen
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.