After their former neighbour moved into a nursing home, the couple from Hässleholm in southern Sweden’s Skåne, both around 75, sold the apartment for 365,000 kronor ($55,000), local newspaper Norra Skåne reported on Saturday.
The man was persuaded to sign a deed of gift granting the couple possession of his home and estate immediately, the report said. The crime was classified as aggravated usury.
The pair’s trial began on Friday, attracting intense attention as a number of witnesses were called to the stand for slightly over seven hours. However, the man did not attend due to his age and ill health, the report said.
The couple denied that they knew that the man had dementia. The prosecution has demanded that the couple be sentenced with heavy fines, ruling out prison sentences due to their advanced age.
Some time before the deed was written up, the couple took care of the man, including helping him with his shopping. Not long after, the husband began to get involved in his neighbour’s finances and was granted power of attorney for the man, the report said.
In 2009, a will stated that the couple would inherit the man’s inheritance when he passed away, the newspaper reported.
The director of the man’s nursing home contacted a municipal lawyer after noting the couple’s urgent requests in having the deed signed, after which police and prosecutors became involved, the report said.
The director testified during the trial that in his opinion, the man is not capable of understanding the ramifications of the deed. He added that he is compliant with everyone and can be easily manipulated, the newspaper reported.
A recording of the man revealed that he often talks to himself and forgets what he had just been told, the report said.
The couple’s lawyer believes they should be fully acquitted. The district court will rule on the case on January 28th.