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Woman sentenced for defrauding man in coma
JEFFERSON COUNTY-By: Leslie Rangel
A woman is heading to jail tonight after pleading guilty to trying to forge her way into a marriage.
A judge sentenced Lenora Reese-McNair to five years in jail for theft.
she's says she did it to help the man, prosecutors say it wasn't compassion, but a criminal act.
She faked a marriage license while her fiance, the man she called her husband, was in a coma.
Lenora Reese McNair and Derek McNair moved in together, after a 2008 Christmas proposal.
McNair bought his fiance this home on Dellwood Lane in Beaumont in October of 2009.
It seemed like a love story, Reese-McNair says the two were in love and presented themselves as husband and wife.
"They lived together for a long time, they did all the common things that married couples do, they interacted withe everybody, she never kept this relationship from Mr. McNair's family at all, " Kevin Laine, Reese-McNair's attorney said.
Things changed December 2012.
Derek fell sick and went into a coma.
Reese-McNair says she panicked after the health insurance ran out.
She says she forged the marriage and other documents so Derrick McNair would qualify for social security and medicaid.
"Times get bad, especially when you have a loved one that's in that type of medical condition, everybody looks for a way to pay medical bills, this was the wrong way to do it," Laine says.
She not only tried to erase him name as the owner of this home, affidavits show she signed his checks and even forged a marriage license saying he was on military leave, not in a comma.
"It's not exploitation of her husband, it was an economic crime as far as not wanting medical bills to consume the estate," Laine said.
"I don't buy that story, I think this man was probably seeking someone to be with as far as comfort, companionship, she preys on people like that and that's what she was seeking is someone in that situation and she found it," prosecutor Clint Woods said.
Reese-McNair's criminal history shows she was charged with credit card fraud and grand theft in Los Angeles and Georgia.
"I think her intentions were to defraud this man and take everything away she could for this man," Woods said.
Derek McNair died back in July of 2013, never waking form his comma.
A story of love and deception ends with Reese-McNair sentenced to five years in prison .
Derek McNair's son says he's the heir to the property, but Lenora Reese-McNair's attorney says she's considered a common law wife and despite the fraud, could end up back in probate court.
JEFFERSON COUNTY - A judge has sentenced a woman to five years in prison after prosecutors say she defrauded a man who is in a coma.
Prosecutors say Lenora Denise Reese-McNair committed 3rd Degree Felony Theft by forging a marriage license to wed Derek McNair, who is in a coma. She could have faced up to 10 years in prison but prosecutors and the defense reached an agreement to reduce the charge from exploiting a disabled individual to theft.
She was taking care of McNair and is accused of forging documents to assign ownership of the man's house to herself. The house in Beaumont's west end is worth more than $100,000.
McNair's lawyer says although she's accepting responsibility for theft, she never meant to exploit the man she calls her husband. The district attorney's office argued Reese-McNair stole the home.