The website of Attorney Delbert Joe Modlin, 63, proclaims in big bold letters that “Joe Modlin Protects the Elderly.” Indeed, the Sacramento attorney describes his lifelong passion for “Elder Law” and “championing the elderly and ensuring they are not taken advantage of.” It was somewhat incongruous therefore when Modlin was last week with financial elder abuse as well as grand theft and securities fraud. Making it all the more bizarre was the allegation that he bilked a 90-year-old man of his savings to invest in what he claimed was a new type of litter box that he had invented.
These are not the first criminal charges against Modlin. He previously was charged in 2011 with defrauding a frail, elderly couple from Auburn and selling their home and assets without their approval.
It is not clear whether Modlin’s new litter box was actually produced, but the charges state that he allegedly persuaded the daughter of the 90-year-old man to invest $120,000 in the invention with the promise that “he would double her investment in four years.”
There is a patent on file for the litter box that describes the invention and lists Modlin as the inventor:
The present invention relates to litter boxes used for the collection of animal waste and particularly to a litter box system for use with clumping litter which comprises a plurality of disposable mesh liner bags having a plurality of holes forming a mesh in their bottom removably attached to a rigid flat insert and a draw string at their top, a plurality of retainers to hold the insert at the bottom of the litter box so that the top mesh liner bag can be detached from the rigid flat insert and lifted out of the pet litter box allowing unsoiled litter to pass through while collecting and removing unwanted solid pet waste for disposal.
The prosecutors say that Modlin had a “severe gambling problem” and that he filed for bankruptcy protection in 2004 and 2012. He notably failed to disclose that information, which the charging documents dryly note a “reasonable prudent investor would consider significant.”
On his website, Modlin proclaims:
Although many of us would like to think that it wouldn’t be difficult to find someone to take care of an elderly loved one, the truth is finding a good elder advocate can be challenging. Attorney Joe Modlin understands this, having been involved as an elder law advocate for over ten years.
Joe Modlin knows that one of the first things to do with a client is to make sure that everything is simple and understandable. Too often, attorneys get caught up in speaking “legalese,” forgetting how to make their clients understand what is being discussed. Since these matters often entail emotionally powerful subjects, Delbert Modlin works to make certain that every question is addressed and answered.
On another website, the attorney proclaims that “Delbert Modlin is one of those attorneys that most people thought no longer existed.” The prosecutors are trying to make that assumption a reality.