Assisted living owner faces more than 36 years in prison for stealing from resident

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Christopher Butler (Photo: Boulder County Sheriff's Office)
Christopher Butler (Photo: Boulder County Sheriff's Office)

The owner of an 11-bed Colorado assisted living community faces a potential prison sentence of more than 36 years Oct. 27 when he is sentenced on three counts of theft from an at-risk elder and one count of felony theft.

Christopher Butler, who owned the Timberline Lodge Assisted Living in Longmont, CO, was found guilty of the charges on Sept. 21, according to the Daily Camera. Each theft from at an at-risk elder carries a prison sentence of up to 12 years.

Butler was found not guilty of two additional counts of theft from an at-risk elder, and prosecutors previously had dismissed other counts of theft, identity theft and fraud, the media outlet said.

As McKnight's Senior Living previously reported, Butler was arrested April 15 after an eight-month investigation by the Boulder County Sheriff's Office determined that he may have stolen more than $200,000 from a resident.

The sheriff's office said it began its investigation in August 2016 after it was alerted by adult protective services that a Timberline Lodge resident's daughter had expressed concerns about her 83-year-old father's finances. Butler had established himself as a representative payee on the resident's checking account, according to detectives, and then wrote checks out of the resident's account and deposited them into his personal account. Butler used some of the money to pay facility expenses, the sheriff's office said, and also wrote checks out of his own account and deposited money back into the resident's account, a process known as kiting.

Detectives said that more than $475,000 in checks were written to Butler out of the resident's account between January 2009 and December 2015, but based on his contract for services, the resident should have paid about $273,000 during this time.

A staff member of Timberline Lodge Assisted Living told McKnight's Senior Living in April that she and her colleagues were surprised by the accusations levied against Butler.

“We're not sure what to think about what's going on with Chris,” Manager Rachel Leavitt said at the time. “It's a shocker to all of us.”

The sheriff's office noted at the time that the facility's staff members were working closely with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Health Facilities and Emergency Medical Services Division.

Leavitt said in April that the facility was given the authority to run the facility at least through the trial. “We want to keep the residents here as long as we can because this is their home. We're all like family here,” she said. Family members also had the option of relocating residents.

Now, the phone number at Timberline Lodge has been disconnected, and the business' website no longer is active.

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