BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - “Relief. Great relief.”
Those are the words of Linda Gobert after she saw her mother for the first time immediately following a total nightmare. Gobert’s mother has dementia and she was allegedly tricked by a man who drove her to a bank to cash a $3,000 check. The man, Jacob Tom, was charged by the Denham Springs City Police Department on Monday, Sept. 23 with bank fraud and exploitation.
Tom says he didn’t do what he’s being accused of, despite turning himself in to authorities in East Baton Rouge Parish.
“It’s all one big misunderstanding,” Tom said once taken into custody. “Everything.”
“The misunderstanding is he thought he was going to get a good amount of money that day and walk away and go to his next victim,” Gobert said.
Tom’s alleged plan was foiled when a bank teller became suspicious of the situation and a family member of the victim also happened to be in the bank. Police say he took off soon afterwards before later turning himself in.
“I think he was aware the police were after him,” said Denham Springs City Police Chief Shannon Womack. “[He had] fear that he was being tracked by law enforcement because we tracked him as far as Georgia and we had law enforcement partners in Georgia looking for him.”
Gobert says her mom has had dementia for about a year and a half now. She says she was out of town and had hired people to periodically check on her mother, who lives separately from her. But her mother loves to walk outside her home and admire her trees, which leaves her vulnerable at times.
She says her mom doesn’t remember the event, and says nobody’s sure how she even ended up with Tom in the truck at the bank.
“He had to know that she wasn’t in her right mind. There’s no way that if you talk to my momma for a few minutes you would know,” Gobert said. “She don’t even know me sometimes.”
So far, police say Tom hasn't been willing to speak with investigators. Gobert says she’s going to move her mom into her home, despite her mother’s wishes to stay at her current home.
“Nobody loves their mother more than I,” she said. “Without my father, she’s all I have left.”