A Santa Rosa man was sentenced to five years in prison this morning for elder financial abuse and forgery. Paul Alexander Tart, 29, pleaded no contest to the charges in Sonoma County Superior Court last month. He admitted stealing more than $100,000 from his wife’s 97-year-old grandfather over the past several months.
Tart forged checks, stole and used an ATM card associated with the elderly man’s checking account, and cashed out the victim’s annuity, District Attorney Jill Ravitch said. The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office offered a five-year term in exchange for Tart’s plea. Tart will serve his sentence in a Central Valley state prison facility that provides drug treatment, his attorney Jeff Mitchell said. Tart admitted to sheriff’s investigators that he took the money to support a prescription drug habit, Sonoma County sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Raasch said at the time of Tart’s arrest in September.
The grandfather reported the money missing on Sept. 2. Tart also was charged with impersonating a military veteran. That misdemeanor count and two of the four felony forgery charges were dismissed at the sentencing. Tart had a Marines uniform with medals, including a purple heart, attached to it, Raasch said. He claimed to have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Raasch said Tart had posed for photos in the uniform with members of his family who actually thought he was in the Marine Corps. Tart even got a “USMC” tattoo on his lower left leg, Raasch said.
Tart also told friends he had worked as a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy, and had dressed in public in a sheriff’s office polo shirt and carried a replica Glock firearm, Raasch said. Tart also purchased a black 2006 Crown Victoria, outfitted with a push bumper on the front and antennae glued to the top to resemble a police car, Raasch said.
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